Donald Trump visits El Paso today – and it won’t be an easy trip for the president or for the people of this border city.
As the US leader, he is expected to honor the dead and console their families.
Mr. Trump isn’t seen as a passive player in this story and many I’ve met blame him for encouraging a culture of hate in America by talking and inciting violence.
Like the alleged gunman reportedly wrote, Mr. Trump has talked about “an invasion” of people, and today many in the community will take to the streets to protest his presence.
Republican Mayor Dee Margo is keenly aware of how angry some in his city is about the president’s trip.
But he also believes he has a duty.
“My primary purpose is to occupy the office of mayor,” he told me.
“He is the president and his own personal decision to come here. I will try to comport myself, I have been on the receiving end of his rhetoric. We said Sunday night at our inter-denominational services that we will confront hate with love.”
It’s been an exhausting few days for the mayor, a man who is deeply proud of the diversity and the shared heritage and culture of his city, where Spanish and English are spoken interchangeably and hundreds of people across the border every day to work and socialize.
He wants the president to hear that today.
“Maybe there’s a chance we can make sure he’s properly informed about our region,” he says
He has his own haunting memories to bear in the past few days.
As a grandfather, there was one moment that hit him especially hard.
“On Sunday I was in the hospital visiting a little ten-month-old boy whose mother died protecting him and while we were there his grandfather has notified his son, the boy’s father, had died.”
A two-month-old baby has been left orphaned after his parents jumped between him and a gunman who opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
His eyes water and his voice breaks as he says: “That’s what really got me. But then the flip side of that was we went to a blood service and there were people who had been there for seven hours waiting to give blood. That’s El Paso and that’s what I want people to understand.”
Across town, I meet Stephanie Melendez who is also struggling with the gravity of grief.
Her father David Johnson died while shielding his wife and Stephanie’s nine-year-old daughter Kaitlin.
She says her mother called her whilst cowering under the checkout.
Ms. Melendez said: “I can’t even process it… they were at the checkout with their basket full… he jumped in front and pushed them underneath the conveyor and shielded them.”
She added that the phone call will never leave her, and continued: “Those screams will stay with me because I wasn’t there and she was asking for me and if I was going to pick her up and she just wanted to go home.
“They will haunt me for the rest of my days and I know my mum will say she will remember those visions right before.
“I just can’t believe those are going to be the last memories she has of my dad.”
At a nearby church, her daughter Kaitlin plays with a service dog, brought here to comfort the survivors.
She is excited, smiling widely as she pets them.
It is a relieving picture of innocence for a young girl who has seen the very worst of humanity.
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