EL PASO, Texas — Last Saturday the residents of El Paso saw their community and their lives change when a mass shooting took place at the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall where 22 people have died and more than 20 more were injured.
As the days have passed and the El Paso community has come together to heal, some of El Paso’s high school student-athletes and their coaches have had to reflect on what El Paso, their friendships and their family have meant to them.
“It was very scary when we heard what had happened,” Franklin volleyball player Alyssa Duran said. “After I found out my family was fine, it makes you want to hold them even tighter, be with them even more. Our friends, our family are important. Our city is in a lot of pain right now and we have to support one another. What happened last Saturday was an eye opener and we have to come together to heal.”
El Paso High volleyball coach Yesenia Alarcon-Ortega said her and her team talked about the tragedy last Saturday after the team was wrapping up scrimmage play.
“Our kids came together after an initial panic and many of our kids went to a vigil Sunday at El Paso High,” the longtime Tigers coach said. “It’s a very tough time for our community and everyone who was affected by the shooting is in our prayers. We want to do well as a team for everyone who is affected.”
Bowie football players Juan Camacho and Justin Diaz looked back on last Saturday’s events with plenty of emotion.
“It really affected our community,” Diaz said. “We have a strong community and for someone to target hispanics in that way is very sad to see. I pray for all those affected by what happened and I just want those who survived to get better. We as a community have to be there for one another and help each other out.”
Added Camacho: “I want to dedicate this season for those who we lost and for those injured. We at Bowie want to win for them. It’s sad to see this happen to so many people, it’s just something that shouldn’t ever happen.”