EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A memorial was unveiled Saturday honoring the 22 people who were killed in a recent mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
The 30-foot tall golden obelisk, called the “Grand Candela,” or “Big Candle,” was revealed to the public during a morning ceremony in the parking lot of the Walmart, which reopened this month for the first time since the Aug. 3 attack in which police say the gunman specifically targeted Mexicans.
A private lighting was held Friday night for the families of those who died and for those who survived the attack, including the 25 people who were wounded.
“A memorial is important to the healing process,” said Todd Peterson, a Walmart regional manager whose territory includes El Paso.
El Paso Diocese Bishop Mark J. Seitz, speaking in both English and Spanish in the border city that is home to many Latinos, called the site sacred and said he hopes it shows people can “respond to weapons of hatred with weapons of love.”
Days before the store reopened following a renovation, a makeshift memorial that had been behind the building was taken down.
Police say 21-year-old Patrick Crusius drove more than 10 hours from his home near Dallas to carry out the attack.
Crusius has pleaded not guilty to capital murder charges in the attack. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.