4 years since El Paso mass shooting marked

EL PASO, Texas — Aug. 3, 2019, was one of the darkest days in Texas history. Shoppers at an El Paso Walmart were killed by a gunman with an AK-47-style assault rifle, and 23 lives were lost. There were also a dozen of injuries reported.


What You Need To Know

  • Twenty-three people were killed at an El Paso Walmart on Aug. 3 2019, and dozens were injured when a gunman opened fire using an AK-47-style assault rifle
  • Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the mass shooting, making it one of the U.S. government’s largest hate crime cases
  • On July 4, 2023, Crusius received 90 consecutive life sentences
  • Crusius still faces a separate trial in a Texas court that could end with him getting the death penalty for carrying out one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history

Among those killed were 13 Americans, eight Mexicans and one German. One victim died the day after the shooting, another victim died two days after it, and a third victim died eight months later.

The person behind the attack held racist beliefs that led him to target Hispanics and immigrants. Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the mass shooting, making it one of the U.S. government’s largest hate crime cases.

“It’s been four years since a white supremacist confessed that he drove over 10 hours to El Paso in order to slaughter Hispanics and immigrants,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas. “He published a screed online, using the same xenophobic rhetoric used by former President Donald Trump, rhetoric that is still unapologetically repeated today by many Republicans in positions of public trust.” 

On July 4, 2023, Crusius received 90 consecutive life sentences. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama recommended he serve his sentence at a maximum security prison in Colorado and receive treatment and counseling for a severe mental health condition.

“The pain, trauma and damage he inflicted is still felt today by El Pasoans, including the victims and survivors who still require medical procedures and live with PTSD,” Escobar said. “While the federal trial is over, there is a state trial ahead. But no sentence can bring back the innocent souls we lost on that day.”

Crusius still faces a separate trial in a Texas court that could end with him getting the death penalty for carrying out one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. That trial date has not yet been set.

Memorial services to remember the mass shooting victims have already begun. A special Bell Tolling Ceremony started at 10 a.m. Thursday, with the mayor, City Council and the Consul General of Mexico all gathered at the Crime Victims Memorial Park.

Here are some events you can still make it to:

The El Paso Museum of History

  • From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. people can visit the museum’s Orientation Theater. There will be items from the original memorial site on display and a video narration recalling the events of Aug. 3. This will be available until Aug. 31.

Sound Bath, Yoga and Meditation session

  • Hosting this event is the El Paso County and United Way of El Paso. It’ll start at 6 p.m., then at 7 p.m. there’ll be a second meditation session and ProMusica Performance at the El Paso Healing Garden. Victims will be remembered at 8 a.m. by El Paso County officials, with a name reading, light beam ceremony and the announcement of the mural artist winners.

The El Paso Museum of Art

  • From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. people can co-create a community altar dedicated to the shooting victims. It’ll be in the Patricia and Jonathan Rogers Grand Lobby.

Healing workshop

  • The Magoffin Home State Historic Site from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. will host a group art therapy workshop. Licensed therapists are to be present to help people cope with their grief.

Art display remembrance

  • The Armijo Branch Library will put on an exhibit from 4 to 6 p.m. Local artists will have their artwork on display at the library to pay tribute.

But there are many other ways to honor the lost lives without having to leave your home. Texans can illuminate their porches and windows with orange lights at 8:30 p.m. in remembrance of the victims.

To write an encouraging message or words of condolences to the victims’ families, visit the City of El Paso’s virtual memorial webpage.

The following sites will be shrouded in orange lights through Aug. 5 for the El Paso shooting victims.

  • Public Art Sculpture on Interstate 10 and Airway Boulevard
  • Public Art near the Abraham Chavez Theater
  • El Paso International Airport landscaping, walking path, and terminal
  • Blue Flame Building (the flame will pulse 23 times in memory of the victims)
  • Alligators will be illuminated orange at the San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown El Paso
  • Texas Department of Transportation bridge lights and arches on I-10

The El Paso community has come together to lean on one another and has become even more resilient through it all. Many are still calling for more legislative action for gun reform to spare other communities from the pain of losing loved ones to nonsensical gun violence.

“While my community remains #ElPasoStrong, we must see more urgent action from legislators — at our nation’s capital to our state capitals — who must do more to prevent the tragedies that have engulfed our nation,” Escobar shared. “We’ll take the thoughts and prayers that come our way, but demand real legislative action in order to prevent the needless pain that is inflicted daily across our nation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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