Army veteran and former bus driver Arturo Benavides, known as “Tury” to many, could name all the classic rock hits on the radio. 

Elementary school principal Elsa Mendoza Márquez, a romantic and lover of wine, was on her way from Ciudad Juárez to Colorado to visit her college graduate daughter. 

High school student Javier Rodriguez was a prankster, an athlete who dreamed of meeting Brazilian soccer star Neymar. 

And, Jordan and André Anchondo, a young couple, had a lot to celebrate: the birth of their baby boy, a one-year marriage anniversary and a new home to renovate.

They didn’t know each other four years ago when their lives converged at the Walmart next to Cielo Vista Mall, where a white nationalist drove to El Paso from a Dallas suburb and opened fire, killing them and 18 others.

On the anniversary of this tragedy, El Paso is hosting several events to honor the 23 victims of the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting. Events include a procession carrying crosses for each person who lost their life, the creation of a community altar, a music performance at Ascarate Park and various community discussions, including one held on Wednesday by Las Americas and another by the Anti-Defamation League on hate crimes, gun violence and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Here are some of the events happening this week:


City memorial and procession

The Border Network for Human Rights, joined by elected officials and community leaders, will hold a memorial event with a call to action against gun violence, white supremacy, xenophobia and anti-immigrant policy. The program begins with a march from Ponder Park to Walmart carrying 23 crosses to represent the lives lost, then ends with a calling of the victims’ names and release of doves. The event will also be livestreamed on the Border Network for Human Rights’ Facebook.

  • 9:45 a.m. – Meet at Ponder Park, 7500 W.H. Burges Dr.
  • 10:15 a.m. – Procession to Cielo Vista Walmart, 7101 Gateway Blvd. West
  • 10: 35 a.m. – Community offering and release of doves
Crosses bearing the names of the victims of the Walmart shooting formed a backdrop on Aug. 3, 2021, at Ponder Park as local activists and elected officials spoke against the continuation of racist rhetoric like that which motivated the 2019 massacre. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

Bell tolling ceremony

The mayor, city council and general consul of Mexico in El Paso will sound a bell at 10 a.m. at the Crime Victims Memorial Park, 610 San Paulo Drive. Community members can also share their condolences and support for the victims’ families on a virtual memorial webpage.

County healing garden

El Paso County and United Way of El Paso will host a program from 6 to 8 p.m. at the El Paso Community Healing Garden National Memorial, located at Ascarate Park, 6900 Delta Dr. The program includes a sound bath, yoga, meditation and a performance by El Paso Pro Musica. At the end, county officials will call the names of the 23 victims, accompanied by a light beam ceremony.

  • 6 p.m. – Sound bath, yoga and meditation session
  • 7 p.m. – Second meditation session and El Paso Pro Musica concert
  • 8 p.m. – Name reading, light beam ceremony and announcement of the mural artist winners

Art therapy

Licensed professional counselors from Grounded Healing and Wellness, a mental health provider in El Paso, are hosting a free art therapy session at 5:30 p.m. at the Magoffin Home State Historic Site, 1120 Magoffin Ave. Art supplies will be provided. Participants must reserve a place in advance at or 915-533-5147.

Community blood drive

Vitalant Blood Donation and the city of El Paso encourage community members to donate blood in honor of the victims. The blood drive takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Hall, 300 N. Campbell St.

Memorial Altar Co-Creation

The El Paso Museum of Art invites the public to help create a community altar in the museum’s Patricia and Jonathan Rogers Grand Lobby, 1 Arts Festival Plaza, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Watercolor for Heartache

Judge Marquez Library, 610 N. Yarbrough Dr., is hosting a watercolor painting event at 11 a.m. Visitors can use watercolors to paint artwork that will be featured at the library through August.

Art tribute

From 4  to 6 p.m., Armijo Branch Library at 620 E. 7th Ave. will pay tribute to the victims with works from local artists

Unite With Light

The city of El Paso encourages the community to light porches or windows with orange lights starting at 8:30 p.m. in honor of the victims.

El Paso Museum of History, Orientation Theater

From Aug. 3-31, the El Paso Museum of History is hosting a video narration and compilation of the events that unfolded during the mass shooting. The remembrance includes a display of objects recovered from the original makeshift memorial site.


Brave Books will host a Q&A with anthropologist Gilberto Rosas, who grew up in El Paso and authored “Unsettling: The El Paso Massacre, Resurgent White Nationalism, and the US-Mexico Border.” The book, published in March, explores the immigration policies, border enforcement and white supremacy that led up to the Aug. 3, 2019, massacre. The bookstore invites community members to join in an open conversation. Refreshments and snacks will be served. The event runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Brave Books, 1307 Arizona Ave.

A group of men embrace during a vigil on Aug. 4, 2019, one day after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. (Callaghan O’Hare/Reuters)

Priscilla Totiyapungprasert is a health reporter at El Paso Matters and Report for America corp member. She previously covered food and environment at The Arizona Republic. You can follow her on social...