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El Paso stays strong

Joel Molina
The “Grand Candela” was unveiled in 2019 at the Walmart on 7101 Gateway West Blvd. It serves as a memorial to the 22 lives lost as result of the mass shooting on Aug. 3, 2022.

After pleading guilty to 90 federal charges, Patrick Crusius; the man who was convicted of carrying out a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart killing 23 people and injuring 22 others,  was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences last year. Crusius also pleaded guilty in July 2023 to federal hate crimes and weapon charges after federal prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.  

Now almost three years after the shooting, no trial for the death penalty has been set. Crusius attended a hearing Jan. 18, but the hearing ended with no trial date leaving many of the families victims with an array of emotions.  

“I am no closer to scheduling or establishing a schedule than I was in September,” 409th District Court Judge Sam Medrano said according to the El Paso Times.  

With the Walmart shooting approaching its fifth anniversary this year, El Paso still grieves, but remains hopeful that justice will be served. 

“We just need to be patient, you know, right now the [defense] is doing everything that they can to, you know, they’re doing their job, they’re buying as much time,” El Paso resident Mathew Montoya said. “That’s just the court process that we have to endure you know and then once all that is exhausted and it comes down to the actual trial…hopefully justice happens the way it needs to happen.” 

While it is unclear when a trial will be set, El Paso residents say they know justice will be served. El Paso local and UTEP student Isabelle De la Fuente believes one of the main repercussions in the delaying of a trial is the ache it may cause to the families involved. 

“He’s guilty, so it’s kind of like contradicting when it’s like, they’re trying to serve justice to these victims and their families yet it’s still being pushed back.” De la Fuente said. “I guess it’s more complicated because it is the death penalty so…there’s a lot more that goes with that but as far as him and…the crime he committed, there’s no denying that.” 

Before the Aug. 3 shooting, El Paso had never had something as traumatic happen in the city before. 

UTEP student, Claudia Ramos, believes that these unfortunate circumstances about the case has brought El Paso closer together, allowing locals and the city to heal.  

“You don’t see a lot of division around people, I mean regarding people’s views on what the sentencing should be for, like the person who caused that catastrophe,” Ramos said. “It’s involved people in these politics and people are like gaining a knowledge ‘cause it happened in their own hometown so now they really want to be educated about it.” 

Though a date for the trial is a question no one can answer at the moment, El Paso residents still hold in their memory of Aug. 3, and remain hopeful that once a trial is set, justice will be served. But for now, the city waits. 

Adam Regalado is the multimedia editor at The Prospector and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Adam Regalado, Multimedia Editor
Adam Regalado is a senior here at The University of Texas at El Paso studying multimedia journalism. Adam is the multimedia editor at The Prospector. Once he graduates, he plans to be a reporter for a news station in Texas while growing his platform and brand on social media promoting LGBTQ+ rights.
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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