Youngest victim of El Paso massacre mourned at school vigil
ITV News Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reporting from El Paso, Texas
A vigil has been held for the youngest victim of the El Paso massacre at his school assembly, on the American football field where he loved to play.
Rather than the first day back at school after the summer holidays being a chance for friends to catch up, pupils, teachers and Javier Rodriguez's family gathered to hold a vigil for the 15-year-old who was gunned down in a Walmart on Saturday.
Javier was days from starting his second year at Horizon High School when he was killed.
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Law officials have named the suspect of the shooting as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen. He has been charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty if guilty.
The attack is being handled as a domestic terrorism case, authorities said.Police are investigating whether there is a link between the shooting and racist, anti-immigrant material posted online shortly before the attack.
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At the memorial, many students wore black and lit candles for Javier as Amazing Grace played in the background.
“We didn’t deserve this.
"This shouldn’t have happened.
"Just because of our race, our colour,” one student told ITV News.
Through tears, Javier’s parents and sister released a dove for him, and later, 21 more were also released for the other victims of the attack.
Horizon High School principal Elena Erives Acosta told ITV News: “Teachers are talking to students and allowing them to express their feelings.”
As her voice began to crack and tears welled in her eyes, she added: “I’m dealing with it.
"I have to stay strong for my kids… I’ve been holding it together until now.”
The shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, in which 31 people were killed in total have reignited the issue of gun control in the US.
On Tuesday, Ohio's Republican Governor urged lawmakers to pass legislation making it harder to obtain firearms.
While on Monday, former president Barack Obama took to Twitter to call for tighter gun controls.
He wrote that while they would not stop all gun killings, tougher firearms laws would "save some families from heartbreak".
In response, President Donald Trump highlighted a lack of action during Mr Obama's presidency, something the Democrat has frequently said he was halted from doing due to Republican opposition.
“Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
"Not many people said Obama is out of Control.
"Mass shootings were happening before the President even thought about running for Pres.”
In his statement, Mr Obama also condemned white supremacy, something Mr Trump has also done.
However, his comments left little doubt that his urging to reject the normalisation of racism referred to Mr Trump, who has spoken disparagingly about immigrants, calling them rapists and murderers, and has hit out at an "invasion" at the Mexico border.
"We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalises racist sentiments; leaders who demonise those who don't look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people," Mr Obama wrote.