The place where Saturday’s shooting occurred – the Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall – has meaning for many El Paso residents, who have shopped there or made transit connections nearby.
Carlos Morales is a reporter with Marfa Public Radio, and a native El Pasoan.
“I grew up in a place known as the Lower Valley,” Morales says. “This Walmart, this shopping center, the Cielo Vista Mall, the Sam’s that’s right there – this whole area is kind of a weekend fixture for a lot of people.”
Cielo Vista is also a major transit hub for the region. An international bridge is nearby, connecting El Paso to its sister city, Ciudad Juarez.
“You have a lot of people that will take that trek to come to this area to do all that shopping,” Morales says.
Morales spoke to a man who had planned to go to the Cielo Vista Walmart on Saturday, but took a detour with his family that meant he wasn’t in the store at the time of the shooting. On Sunday, the man returned to the area, where a makeshift memorial to shooting victims has been created.
“He wanted to return because he said they knew they had to be there to offer that support for their community and the place they call home,” Morales says.
El Paso is a close-knit community, Morales says. He says he found that he had connections with the people he met as he was reporting.
“I think all of those little instances for me really drove home… that this is my hometown. This is my place. And people are watching out for each other. Everyone’s family,” he says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.
An earlier version of this story indicated that the Walmart where the shooting occurred is part of Cielo Vista Mall. It is adjacent to the mall.