AUSTIN, Texas - Today (8/3) marks the one year anniversary of the deadly shooting at a crowded Walmart in El Paso that left 23 people dead and another 23 injured.
Events to remember those whose lives were lost will look different in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sunday, a socially distant service was held in a large park in El Paso for relatives of the victims. Those who attended said it was a solemn ceremony but a celebration of life as well.
Officials say parks within the community will be lit up with lanterns for people to walk or drive through. Everyone is asked to show support with online memorial posts and private tours will be available to family members of the victims to view preserved items from a makeshift memorial.
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El Paso residents describe the friendliness of the city, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the U.S. Many people have roots in both the U.S. and Mexico, frequently crossing the border. Several of those killed at the Walmart had come from Mexico to shop. For many in the community and beyond, it's a day that can never be forgotten.
"We can't allow a shooter to define who we are, and we're not going to allow a virus to define who El Paso is," says El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
For Stephanie Melendez, whose father David Johnson was shielding his wife and granddaughter when he was fatally shot, she says she feels the support of the community.
"Even if we can't all get together, they're still there, there are still ways," she said.
Authorities say Patrick Crusius confessed to driving to El Paso from his home near Dallas to target Mexicans, and just before the attack posted a racist screed online. Crusius, 22, faces state capital murder charges, and a federal hate crime and gun case that could likewise bring a death sentence if he's convicted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.