News Roundup: Walmart To Reopen El Paso Store That Was Site Of Mass Shooting

Here’s a look at headlines from around the state.

By Kristen CabreraAugust 23, 2019 11:52 am

Walmart has announced plans to reopen the El Paso store where 22 people were killed in a mass shooting earlier this month.

Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove says the Cielo Vista Walmart will reopen in three to four months, once the inside of the store is rebuilt.

“Nothing will erase the pain of August 3rd,” Hargrove said. “We are hopeful that reopening the store will be another testament to the strength and resiliency that has characterized the El Paso community in the wake of this tragedy.”

Hargrove says Walmart plans to establish a memorial at the store that will pay tribute to the victims of the shooting.

He added that about 93 percent of the 400 people who worked at that store have been reassigned to other nearby Walmart stores for the time being.

El Pasoans gathered for a town hall focused on gun violence and white supremacy last night. It’s the first of several similar events taking place throughout Texas this month, KERA’s Mallory Falk reports.

The event was co-hosted by the Latino Victory Project and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a mass shooting in 2011.

“What you saw happen here in El Paso and what the focus of the event is are the twin threats of gun violence and hate-based terrorism,” said Peter Ambler, director of Giffords’ gun control organization.

Ambler, who grew up in El Paso, says it’s time for Texas to strengthen its gun laws. One proposal: a law that prohibits people convicted of hate crimes from purchasing firearms.

The Asian-American population is the fastest growing ethnic category in Texas, according to state demographers. It’s also a population that experts say will have a large impact in local politics in urban areas of the state.

Now, Harris County is now offering voter registrar training in Vietnamese and Chinese for the first time.

Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall reports area officials are making voter registration more accessible for non-English speakers.

More than 25 people attended a recent deputy voter registrar training in Vietnamese – one of three trainings this week that certifies people how to register voters in either Vietnamese or Chinese.

Vietnamese-American non-profit director Janette Diep was there getting certified. “We have a large Vietnamese community and there’s a lot of language barriers,” Diep said. “And so, to be able to have it in Vietnamese, really helps a great deal to really understand the importance of voter registration.”

Diep’s group, Boat People SOS, hosted the training. With some 91,000 people, Houston has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the country.