Wednesday, August 14, 2019

El Paso Massacre

August 3rd, 2019. Around early 10:00 am at El Paso, Texas. I worked early that day until 3:00 PM. I received the news from friends first. At first, it seemed it was a lousy joke but no. Terror actually hit. "Active shooter at Cielo Vista Mall". The message turned my blood upside down. Around 10:20 am, the news got worse. There were multiple rumors that there were multiple shooters attacking several different malls. This is when we all got worried.

Rumors everywhere, texts being sent out, calls being made. Social media being part of the problem, spreading incorrect information causing chaos and ultimately panic. 3 shooters are out and about, unconfirmed reports of shootings in the area. 10 people dead. 15, 17, 18 dead. "Area is still active" is what was reported by the Police department. That lasted for hours until around 2 PM.

I called my mom and asked her where she was, and informed her that there was an active shooter near our house. She confirmed she was inside ordering her Herbalife shake/tea. I asked her where my sister was, and she replied she was at work (in the far east, far from where it took place). I then asked about her boyfriend since I knew he was staying with us for a couple of days. He confirmed he was ok.

My work suddenly got more intense. We closed the front gate halfway for pre-caution, but we were still open at the time. Videos and images spread online. It drowned all social media outlets, at this point the incident had gone national. And everyone, everywhere in North America knew about what had just occurred. At this point, horror was still spreading since there was no confirmation that the suspect was caught or how many there were. The time was 11:30 am. People in my workplace were listening to the videos that people had spread online. Those videos were real. Gory, bloody, fear, gunshots, screaming, those videos were too much to even listen to, it actually made emotional just thinking about my own family being in that wal-mart. I then made my way to the back area (at work) to recover myself. Stupid messages were being spread that mentioned "my brother's uncle is in the FBI.....and that the attack was affiliated with gang activity.....which may be part of a re-occuring event.....etc.LIES, ALL OF THEM. I know we, as people that live in this town want to be careful, but COME ON! The first couple of people that started it must have just sent it to spread panic. All you saw on facebook/insta/messages was "Not sure if real but just in case"....If it's not reliable, why post it? I guess out of precaution and fear to stay away from commercial centers.

The Cielo Vista mall and Bassett Center malls were quickly evacuated, some stores stayed locked inside (with customers) for hours until they got the word that it was safe. Policemen and Army affiliates were running down the mall with the big guns, literally marking the stores with a black marker "Cleared P.D" on the stores' windows. Back at work, we all turned on the news to know what exactly was happening. But the worst part was that nobody knew what was happening. Nobody wanted to confirm anything. Random official reports were coming in, which worsened the situation. Not until 1/2 PM we started to see the shooter's face from the store cam. The image was later confirmed to be true. As well as his capture later on. The arrest was made on the intersection I used on the daily. Where I turn to go home, go to work, see friends, buy food and even go to walmart. The Viscount/Sunmount intersection. The image caused some controversy since it seemed the capture was TOO peaceful for a massacre of him harming 46+ people.

Hours after the event, people (by the masses) lined up for blood donations. Even in our sister city Las Cruces, NM. So many people had gone to the blood drives that people had to be turned away. People wanted to help so bad, and everybody could feel the love, giving water, food ANYTHING to see those that were damaged getting the help they needed.

The balcony from my house could see the aftermath still, Police everywhere and people visiting the area (since they set up a mourning site for them right before an intersection before entering walmart). The following nighr, people gathered at a nearby park to mourn and remember, to recollect what had happened.
Days have passed, today is August 14th, our city is still greatly affected by what had happened. Someone from out of town, driving hours from Allen, TX to cause major harm. Beautiful things has happened since. People are coming together to mourn. Lady gaga got involved to fund our people, Khalid is returning to have a benefit show as well as local places by local bands contributing for the families affected. Personally, my band, had a show on August 9th and we were able to raise ($600+) (and depending on how much the bar gave extra). We personally received the 600 dollar check only to turn it in COMPLETELY. All of us felt great about that. To this day the walmart is still closed and just a couple days ago they started letting people pick up their cars from the lot. They had fenced the scene completely where the parking lot is.

To this day people are scared, shook. Going around the malls recently, there are definitely fewer people than normal. People have lost trust. Others unaffected but the majority still psychologically damaged still. You can't simply forget. I heard a comment the other day by a little girl that had said "I'm still scared of being in a place like this", they were at the mall in the westside of the city. When the news broke, national news had gotten misinformed and thought the shooter was at the Cielo Vista mall when in fact, nothing had occurred there. That day my little sister and mom were going to head to walmart AT THAT SPECIFIC TIME, even had a friend that was supposed to buy packs of water in the morning as well. They both had plan changes and did not end up going to walmart that morning. But to think my family and friends dying is an unthinkable thought. El Paso is still safe. El Paso people are still here, we are strong defintely

22 people dead, 24 injured. Our president visited. Controversy surrounded that.

A massacre.

In my own backyard.

I'm ultimately still shook.

But not scared anymore.

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