El Paso funeral: 700 wait in the Texas heat to support man who invited everyone, reports say
It was about 38 degrees Celsius in El Paso, Texas on Friday night.
But the hot night wasn’t enough to stop hundreds of people from lining up to mourn at the funeral of El Paso shooting victim Margie Reckard, which took place at La Paz Faith Memorial and Spiritual Center, CNN reported.
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As many as 700 people gathered to attend the service after Antonio Basco, Reckard’s husband, was left without any family following her death.
He had invited the public to attend — and so many wanted to come that the service was moved to a new venue.
El Paso residents Victor and Mary Perales were among those who came to help him mourn, The New York Times reported.
The couple had lost their eldest son two years ago.
“I said we are going to this funeral to give him a hug and let him know we can be his family,” Victor said.
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Hila Hijazi, meanwhile, flew from San Francisco to El Paso so that she could attend, CNN reported.
“I didn’t want him to suffer alone. I didn’t want him to grieve alone,” she told the network.
She hopes to speak with Basco at the funeral so she can thank him.
“I thank him for showing us what love is,” she said.
“Showing us how to be strong. Showing us it’s OK to ask.”
When Basco arrived at the service, he was greeted by a crowd of people who sent him blessings in both Spanish and English.
“I love y’all, man,” he said.
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Bishop Harrison Johnson is funeral director at Perches Funeral Home, where the service was initially set to take place.
He was nevertheless expected to deliver the eulogy at La Paz.
“My message is faith gets us through anything,” he told the Times.
“What do we do when loved ones die like this, violently? This is the time when people question God’s existence.
“My answer is we turn to Christ.”
Friday didn’t mark the only service that will honour Reckard.
On Saturday, her funeral will take place at Restlawn Cemetery at 9 a.m. MT.
— With files from The Associated Press
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