A nine-story mural of Juan Gabriel greets visitors from El Paso a few blocks after crossing south into Juárez from the Del Norte bridge, Dr. Chavez noted. Juan Gabriel was born in 1950 in southern Mexico and raised in Juárez, where he is a considered a native son. He died in August 2016 in Santa Monica, Calif., at 66.
For El Pasoans, and Americans of Mexican descent more broadly, the sense of loss this week is intensified by the realization that the victims in El Paso were targeted for their ethnic and national background. Eight of the 22 victims in El Paso have been confirmed as Mexican nationals. Their lives were cut short while visiting the U.S. for back-to-school shopping.
The tragedy in El Paso was one of two mass shootings in the United States that occurred hours apart in Texas and Dayton, Ohio, taking the lives of 31 people in total. Days earlier, on July 28, a gunman killed three and injured thirteen more in Gilroy, Calif., at a garlic festival. “Amor Eterno” was sung at a San Jose, Calif., vigil held for 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, who was killed in Gilroy, according to a report in The Salinas Californian.
The shootings in El Paso and Gilroy are being investigated as acts of domestic terrorism. According to federal investigators, in all three shooting cases, the gunmen expressed, or were said to be exploring, violent ideologies.
As the identities of more victims are released, and El Paso and Juárez prepare to send off their loved ones at funerals, “Amor Eterno” is likely to be heard more in the coming days, Mr. Chavez said.
“People are just trying to find ways to grieve, and I think that song has become that, basically,” he said.