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Thousands come together in El Paso to help out those affected by shooting


EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso community has come together to help the community process one of the worst moments this city has ever seen.

After a lone gunman took the lives of 20 people Saturday, the response from the residents in El Paso has been to come together.

Finding community through prayer

Church hymns rang loudly Sunday at St. Pius X Catholic Church.

"More love. I know that if we have love in our hearts, God is with us," said one parishioner, Olga Nejera.

In the place of worship, residents found some comfort in gathering to pray.

"Everything is about this shooting, and it's nice to know that another day dawned and God is still in control," Grace Wilks, another parishioner, said.

For some, it was a chance to realize that humanity is a powerful thing.

"To know that not everybody in the world is twisted like this guy," Wilks said.

Maria Martinez saw the shooting

"He started outside. He started outside," Martinez said. "It was very difficult to see that ... very difficult. I never thought it would happen in my city."

However, this city's answer to the violence was overwhelming compassion. 

"Re-establishing those messages of peace of kindness or love to your fellow man," said another parishioner.

Blood banks overwhelmed with help

The Vitalant blood bank was supposed to be closed Sunday, but workers said they opened their doors because of the overwhelming number of people wanting to help.

"After 10 a.m., we were stormed with walk-ins coming in," said a blood bank employee.

People waited hours to give blood.

"It's been about two hours. We made an appointment at 9:30, and some have waited longer," Debbie Aguilar, an El Paso resident, said.

For Zoi Luna, it was very personal. Luna's sister was at Walmart when it happened.

"Knowing that I could have had to bury my sister is really hard," Luna said.

It is a determination to overcome that residents here say is a more true depiction of El Paso.

"All the people around us ... overcomes everything," Aguilar said.

Beto visits

Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke also came to his hometown to show his support. O'Rourke visited the Del Sol Medical Center to visit with survivors and their families. O'Rourke also planned to visit a local vigil.

"So proud of how this community has come together and will overcome what happened yesterday," O'Rourke said.

Vigils to honor those lost

There were also several vigils planned Sunday night including a See the Voice, Be the Change vigil and action event at the Las Americas Headquarters in El Paso. St. Pius X Church is also having a gathering, as well as a local park close to the scene.