When Antonio Basco invited the public to attend the funeral for his wife Margie Reckard, who was killed in the El Paso shooting, the service was set for a venue that holds 250 people.
Now the widower, who was left with no other family after she was killed, has seen over 1,000 expected to attend, according to reports — enough that the funeral has to be moved to a larger space.
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Texas Congressional Rep. Veronica Escobar tweeted Wednesday that Reckard’s funeral will now take place in a bigger venue.
And Basco, she said, will receive a “flag flown over the U.S. capitol in her honour.”
The service had initially been planned for Perches Funeral Home.
Funeral director Harrison Johnson told NPR that the home was surprised to learn that over 1,000 would attend.
“We’re getting calls constantly, every two or three minutes,” he said.
The funeral is now set to take place over two events, Perches Funeral Home posted to Facebook on Wednesday.
First, a prayer service will take place at La Paz Faith, a memorial and spiritual centre on N. Piedras Street, at 7 p.m. local time on Friday.
Then, Reckard’s funeral will happen at Restlawn Cemetery at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Escobar is expected to attend, along with El Paso Mayor Dee Largo and other officials.
In the weeks following the El Paso shooting that killed 22 people at a Walmart close to Cielo Vista Mall, Basco has received an outpouring of sympathy, with strangers approaching to hug or offer words of support, Disaster and Victim Services International chaplain Tony Dickey told ABC7.
Basco has also returned, time and again, to a memorial where a white cross bears his wife’s name.
“I can’t stay away from here,” Basco told the network.
“All I know is that my wife never hurt someone.”
The two of them met in Omaha, Neb., after Basco stopped riding in rodeos, the network reported.
Reckard smiled at him, but it took time before he could bring himself to speak with her.
They later talked, ate dinner and breakfast. And spent 22 years together.