We're just a few weeks away from the one-year anniversary of a horrifying moment in El Paso history, one that has almost been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Walmart massacre on August 3, 2019 will never be forgotten. It is the day that the city watched in shock as one of the most heavily trafficked shopping centers became the epicenter of a mass shooting the likes of which we had only heard of on tv. That Saturday morning began like most others with people shopping at the Cielo Vista Walmart, fundraising outside the store entrance, and people doing a little back-to-school shopping. When the shots rang out at the Walmart, confusion and misinformation began almost immediately. There were reports of shots fired at Cielo Vista Mall, Sam's Club across from Walmart, and even at Bassett Place. It took hours before the situation was over and the suspect was in custody.

Since that day, the city has grieved at the makeshift memorial that sprang up just outside the back parking lot of Walmart, seen a memorial erected in the parking lot of the Cielo Vista Walmart that is visible from I-10, and raised money for those affected by that horrific day. We have also followed the trial of the suspect, a 21 year old man from Dallas who published a manifesto online before he launched his attack against the people he said were "invading" the United States from Mexico.

Yesterday, lawyers for the man whom I will not identify because I won't give him the satisfaction of publishing his name, said that he has been diagnosed "mental disabilities" that should be a "red flag" for federal prosecutors who could be going for the death penalty in his case. The lawyers say he was treated with anti-psychotic medication after he was arrested after the massacre at Walmart, something that has not been previously reported.

Court records show that the suspect was in special education in school but there is no mention of his mental health. The suspect faces the possible death penalty if found guilty in a state court. He also faces hate and gun charges in federal court. Trial dates have not been set.

As the daughter of a lawyer I know that his defense team has to do their job and try to keep him from getting the death penalty. As a citizen of El Paso, this makes me want to throw up.

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