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Items from El Paso Walmart moved; some for display, some for storage, some given to families

It's another step forward in the healing after a gunman took 22 lives.
Credit: KHOU

EL PASO, Texas — The El Paso Walmart, the site of the August 3 mass shooting, where 22 people were killed and dozens injured, opened Thursday.

The site of the massacre became a memorial, much like many other mass killing sites across the country.

Sunday morning, prior to the store re-opening, families of victims and survivors had private access to the memorial site to take any items they wanted, according to Ben Fyffe, Assistant Director for the City of El Paso Museums & Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD.)

“A little over 50 people showed up and took a variety of items, including crosses, artwork and other ephemera,” the city of El Paso said in an email. 

In a press release Tuesday, the city said it was in the process of removing the rest of the items from the memorial near the Cielo Vista Walmart.

RELATED: 'Hope is always possible' | Healing continues three months after El Paso tragedy

Some of the items from the Walmart site are being displayed at a temporary memorial at a park nearby. The memorial was designed by a local engineer and built by a contractor hired by MCAD, according to Fyffe. The rest of the artifacts will be catalogued and saved for historical purposes.

“As our region continues to heal, we are working to honor the sentiment and wishes behind the items that were brought to the makeshift community memorial,” said Quality of Life Deputy City Manager Tracey Jerome in a press release. “Ponder Park became the place where our community gathered in the immediate hours following this horrific act, and we hope the park will continue to be a place where people can go to reflect and heal.”

Fyffe said the temporary memorial is expected to be in place for about two years and it cost MCAD $24,150.

The items on temporary display in a park were picked by the museum staff “based on their stability to withstand continued exposure to elements and with intent to show wide range of types of items that were left at the site,” the city said.

Other items will be stored at a secure facility. MCAD plans to display other items as part of a larger exhibit in the future, according to the city.

The City said it came up with this plan after talking to experts in other communities affected by tragedies, including Pittsburg, Orlando, Boston, Las Vegas and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

RELATED: A tale of two Texas cities: How Plano and El Paso became one after a mass shooting meant to divide


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