"Forgiveness isn’t given lightly": El Pasoans balance healing with anger a year after Walmart massacre

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Members of El Paso Firme and Border Network for Human Rights on Monday marched down Sunmount Drive toward the Walmart where a gunman killed 23 people and injured several others Aug. 3, 2019. Briana Sanchez/El Paso Times via REUTERS

EL PASO — It’s been about a year since the lyrics to the Spanish-language ballad rang out in the parking lot of a shopping complex in East-Central El Paso. The song, Amor Eterno, was penned by borderland hero Juan Gabriel and speaks about a family’s tragic loss. It was played several times here in the aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings in the state’s history.

On Monday, the lyrics resonated once again as a duo sang its message of agony and remembrance just before 23 white doves were released in honor of the victims.

But there was also an undercurrent of enduring fear and anger that hasn’t faded since a gunman confessed to targeting Hispanic people in order to ward off what he said was an invasion of this country. The alleged gunman, Patrick Crusius, 22, has spent the last year in jail and is charged with dozens of state and federal crimes that could result in a death sentence.