Though Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, Texas has shaken communities on both sides of the border, many Mexican citizens and natives are reeling from revelations that the attack was aimed at Latinos, and in particular, Mexican immigrants.
Six Mexicans were killed and another seven of the country’s citizens were among the dozens wounded, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday.
The Mexican victims were identified as Sara Esther Regalado of Ciudad Juarez; Adolfo Cerros Hernández of the city of Aguascalientes; Jorge Calvillo García of Torreon, Coahuila; Elsa Mendoza de la Mora of Yepomera, Chihuahua; Gloria Irma Marquez of Ciudad Juarez; and María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe of the city of Chihuahua.
“The man entered the place with the sole intention of killing Mexicans,” wrote award-winning Mexican journalist León Krauze on Instagram in Spanish. “What happened in El Paso was a terrorist attack of white supremacism against the Hispanic community.”
“The El Paso attack was the most serious and direct attack against Mexican citizens outside of the territory,” he added. “Although a greater number of Mexicans died in the September 11 attacks, the objective of the El Paso massacre was the Mexican community of the border city.”
Amatza Gutiérrez, a student from the Mexican capital, said the idea of a shooter targeting Mexicans because of their ethnicity gives her goose bumps.
“I don’t understand why anyone would go to that extreme,” the 24-year-old said.
Her friend Carlos Franco, who recently graduated from college with a degree in international business, said the shooting had made him not want to travel to the United States.
Just minutes before the rampage, U.S. investigators believe the shooter posted a rambling online manifesto in which he railed against a perceived “invasion” of Hispanics coming into the U.S. He then allegedly targeted a shopping area in El Paso that is about 5 miles from the main border checkpoint with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
“I’m from Mexico, but my father is working in El Paso,” on Twitter user wrote. “I was in panic when they reported that in the news … it is hurting people and they keep saying that guns are their right.”
Tens of thousands of Mexicans cross the border legally each day to work and shop in the city of 680,000 full-time residents, and El Paso County is more than 80 percent Latino, according to the latest census data.
“I’m very sad about the El Paso shooting,” wrote another user. “I’m Mexican. I live in Mexico and I live at the border … It’s something normal to go to the USA for some weekends or with friends, to have a funny day, we go to Whataburger.”
“And now thinking that someone did this only for killing Mexicans,” the user added.
Mexico has vowed to take legal action against U.S. after the El Paso shooting.
“The president has instructed me to ensure that Mexico’s indignation translates into … efficient, prompt, expeditious and forceful legal actions for Mexico to take a role and demand that conditions are established that protect … Mexicans in the United States,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a video posted on Twitter.
As the news dominated weekend headlines, some said the shooting was the natural result of simmering resentment that President Donald Trump had stirred early into his presidential campaign when he called Mexicans coming into the U.S. “rapists” and “criminals.” The U.S.-Mexico relationship was only further strained after he took office and vowed to build a border wall and slap tariffs on Mexican imports.
“Stop hate speech,” wrote Krauze. “Stop racial violence.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued his own statement about the shooting on Sunday.
“In spite of the pain, the outrage” Mexicans are feeling, he said, the U.S. is headed toward elections and Mexico doesn’t want to interfere in the “internal affairs” of other countries. He also said the events in Texas reaffirmed his conviction that “social problems shouldn’t be confronted with the use of force and by inciting hate.”
“I think about that could’ve been my child, that could’ve been my mother,” said actress Eva Longoria, a Texan of Mexican-American descent, told NBC’s “Today” show on Monday. “My mother goes to Walmart three times a day…I just hope that there’s some real changes that are going to be made.”