Hundreds attend El Paso memorial for shooting victim with no close family

Hundreds of mourners attended the memorial of a woman they had never met who was killed in the El Paso shooting earlier this month after her husband appealed for people to attend the service. 

Antonio Basco feared he would be the sole mourner at the funeral of his 63-year-old wife who was shot dead in the Wallmart attack that killed 22 people in the Texas border city on August 3 according to local media. 

In a bid to drum up attendance Mr Basco, 61, who was married to Reckard for more than two decades who has no family of his own, asked the funeral home to post the memorial arrangements publicly.

Antonio Basco greets well wishers to a public memorial for his wife, Margie ReckardCredit:
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

An outpouring of some 10,000 messages and more than 900 floral arrangements, some from as far away as Asia, came flooding in, according to The New York Times.

And on Friday afternoon some 700 people – in a line that stretched down the street – waited in almost 100-degree Fahrenheit (38-degree Celsius) heat, according to US media, to pay their respects.

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The overwhelming response meant Reckard’s service had to be relocated to a larger facility, La Paz Faith Memorial and Spiritual Center, Perches Funeral Homes said.

The standing room only service, which included a mariachi band and singing, was held in a hall overflowing with floral arrangements.

People attend the visitation service for Margie Reckard at La Paz Faith Center in El PasoCredit:
Paul Ratje/AFP

"This is incredible," said Basco, who wept as he greeted well-wishers, in video posted by local media.

He has been leaving flowers every day at a victims’ memorial outside the Walmart store where the shooting took place, media reported.

While some of the attendees had traveled from other towns or even states for the service, many were community members shaken by the act of mass violence that thrust their city into the national spotlight.

Although Basco and Reckard had no children, her offspring from a previous marriage had come to the ceremony, according to US media.

Antonio Basco greets some of the hundreds in line to attend his longtime companion Margie Reckard's funeral at La Paz Faith Memorial & Spiritual Center in El Paso, TexasCredit:
Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times

Reckard will be buried at 9:00 am local time Saturday at Restlawn Cemetery in El Paso.

Prior to the shooting, the 21-year-old gunman who carried out the attack posted a white supremacist manifesto online denouncing a "Hispanic invasion" of Texas.

El Paso lies on the Rio Grande River which marks the US border with Mexico. It has a population of 680,000, of which 83 percent are of Hispanic descent.

The shooting came hours before a gunman in Dayton, Ohio, killed nine people, reigniting calls for gun control in the US.

Firearms were linked to nearly 40,000 deaths in the United States in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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