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UTEP Students Killed Near Juarez

There were tearful goodbyes and friends and families were in shock after two men are gunned down near Juarez this weekend.

The two men attended UTEP. One was a nursing student. The other studied engineering up until last year.

News of their deaths rocked many of their close friends. “This is why we say savor every moment,” said Silva Magnet, a high school AP English teacher Margaret Zumr as she consoled of the victims’ friends.

Friends and teachers said they were trying to come to grips as the violence across the border hits close to home.

“It’s a topic in the teachers’ lesson plans,” explained Margarita Ramirez, assistant principal at Silva Magnet.

Jorge Gonzalez, 21, was a 2006 graduate of Burges High School.

“It makes me very angry. Just, the whole situation,” said Diane Lane, a vocational nursing instructor at Silva Magnet.

Alejandro Ruiz, 19, was a nursing student at UTEP. he graduated from Silva Magnet High School’s Nursing Program in 2009.

Amid tears, Ruiz’s friend Melissa Gaytan said, “We were going to all get together, all 10 of us and we were going to have lunch today at noon. But instead of seeing Alejandro, I went to his funeral today.”

Chihuahua state police said the two men were found on the highway between Villa Ahumada and Juarez — their bodies riddled with bullets.

Friends said they were coming back from a Boy Scout retreat.

“The thought that he died violently is very, very hard for us. Very, very hard because he didn’t deserve that,” Zumr said of Ruiz.

Teachers describe Ruiz as genuinely caring person. “He’d start asking me questions to know who I was. What made me special and unique as a person and he didn’t just do that with me. He did that with everybody,” explained Maggie St. Myers, also a vocational nursing instructor at Silva Magnet.

The small high school frustrated by the seemingly never ending violence. Lane explained, “It’s just senseless. There’s too many people who are innocent and not involved in what’s going on that are being killed.”

University officials said the flags on campus will be flown at half staff on Wednesday.

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