El Pasoans Rally Around Beto O'Rourke at Walmart Vigil as Candidate Skips Key Campaign Stop

EL PASO -- Four days after an unimaginable attack that senselessly took 23 lives in this border town, the people of El Paso continued to solemnly pay their respects to those killed in a racially fueled mass shooting on Wednesday night. High school cheerleaders cried as they read the messages of condolences, support and resilience at a makeshift memorial outside the Cielo Vista Walmart where a shooter opened fire on Saturday, killing nearly two dozen people and injuring 26 others. Humbled state lawmakers looked on helplessly at the flowers, balloons, candles and posters laid at the memorial site of 23 of their constituents and neighbors taken before their time.Pray for El Paso, the signs read. If you only got to know our people, our streets, our culture, then you would’ve seen how precious our city is, another read in an apparent message to the shooter. Hate is loud but Love is stronger.A young man walked around offering free hugs. A community tried to heal and pull itself out of deep despair.Then, wearing his familiar blue dress shirt and carrying a bouquet of roses - like a son bringing an offering to a mother he’d been away from for too long - Beto O’Rourke joined the throngs of memorial visitors in the El Paso night. “Beto! Beto!” the early astute observers yelled. “Welcome, Beto!”Soon, he was surrounded by adoring El Pasoans all pushing up against one another to shake hands with their favorite native son. In that moment, O’Rourke, the former congressman, once Senate candidate, now struggling presidential candidate, returned to the identity that has always most defined him: an El Pasoan. His quarrel with President Donald Trump, whose anti-immigrant rhetoric was reflected in the alleged shooter’s manifesto, melted away during the brief visit to the memorial. Trump also visited El Paso on Wednesday, with some residents of the grieving city angry that he chose to come.  Continue reading...

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