EL PASO, Texas – A day after the mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, people paying their respects at the Walmart memorial in El Paso on Sunday asked when will the killings end.
On Saturday, a man with a rifle killed seven people and wounded 22 others in a rolling rampage in Odessa.
The bloodshed occurred less than a month after the Aug. 3 massacre at the Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall.
The latest shooting some 280 miles east of El Paso was in some ways a repeat of the same feelings of worry, pain and anger, visitors to the memorial said.
Under a bright, late morning sun, Albert Artalejo and his wife, Grace Bueno, looked over the flowers, stuffed animals, flags, signs and religious items at the makeshift memorial at Walmart.
The couple from Granbury, near Fort Worth, stopped by the memorial while visiting family in Bueno's hometown of El Paso.
Gunman identified: Texas shooter who killed 7 in Odessa identified
“When we heard about the shooting in El Paso, the first thing that comes to mind is friends and family. Are they safe?" said Artalejo, 55. "And after that you start praying for the victims, the survivors, the cops and first responders.
"It might sound bad, but you even pray for the guy (shooter). He needs to find God. He really does. It’s never too late."
'Why so much hatred?'
On their way to El Paso, the couple drove on Interstate 20 through the Odessa-Midland area hours before the shooting. Afterward, they were only left with questions.
“Again?" said Artalejo, describing his reaction upon hearing of the latest tragedy.
"What’s going on? What’s happening? Why so much hatred?
"The same thing goes through your mind again. We have relatives in Midland. Are they safe? How safe are we? You can’t go anywhere without thinking you could be next. What if?"
The memorial, which includes photos of the victims and messages from around the nation, is a display of support, unity and the "enormous" love people have for El Paso, Bueno said.
The spate of seemingly continuous mass shootings shows there is a need for "more unity, more understanding for each other and more love for each other," Bueno said.
'How many more have to die?'
Democratic U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso in a tweet lashed out at what she called inaction by the Texas Legislature and Congress. She was responding to a statement by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who described the Odessa shooting as "senseless."
Senseless, indeed @GovAbbott.
My heart is so heavy for the families in Odessa.
And I’m infuriated by the inaction and lack of political courage by the TX Governor and by @senatemajldr.
How many more have to die?
Gov: Call a special session!
Senate Maj Ldr: take up our bills! https://t.co/dfWmugvBsH
— Veronica Escobar (@vgescobar) September 1, 2019
"Senseless, indeed @GovAbbott," Escobar tweeted. "My heart is so heavy for the families in Odessa. And I’m infuriated by the inaction and lack of political courage by the TX Governor and by @senatemajldr (Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell). How many more have to die?"
"How many more" also was asked on a painted sign among teddy bears and plastic flowers at the Walmart memorial.
“I don’t even know what to think," said San Juana Boswell, 60, of San Antonio, who was at the El Paso memorial while contemplating the latest mass shooting.
"I don’t know what this world is coming to, guns and shootings," she said. "I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say.
"I just had to come and see it. It’s overwhelming,” she said about the memorial, pausing as she sobbed, overcome by emotion. “I don’t know even know these people.”
Follow Daniel Borunda on Twitter: @BorundaDaniel
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Texas shooting: El Paso memorial visitors react to Odessa shooting