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Remembering El Paso’s youngest Walmart shooting victim, he was 15

Javier Rodriguez

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Just one week into 10th grade, Javier Amir Rodriguez's life was abruptly taken in the Cielo Vista Walmart mass shooting by a lone gunman who killed 23 people.

At 15-years old, Rodriguez was the youngest victim.

Two days after the attack, the Clint Independent School District hosted a vigil for Rodriguez on the Horizon High School football and soccer field.

"The first formal event was the vigil for Javier," Clint ISD Superintendent Juan Martinez said.

A brand new playing surface had been installed over the summer. Not a single game had been played on it yet.

"There is not a moment that, if I come here -- this week I've been here at least three times -- and every time it is the first thing that comes to my memory. It's him. It is him."

Martinez described the field at Horizon High School as 'his place.' Rodriguez was an avid soccer player. The field is where he could do what he loved most.

On August 5, 2019 at Rodriguez's vigil, Martinez told ABC-7, "We can transfer our anger into something good. And that is what we will do."

Proof of that came in the spring at Horizon's last home soccer game of the season.

"The school decided that the captain of the team will always wear the number 15," Martinez said. "We decided not to retire the jersey so that his memory, his number was still on the field every time they play."

And it was that moment that proved to be the most difficult for Dr. Martinez in the year since Rodriguez was killed.

"The toughest thing was to see his mom and his sister again. The toughest thing is for me to try to experience her pain, and I will never be able to. But it is very hard to see her, his sister and dad -- still crying as if it was yesterday."

While Rodriguez's place is on the field -- it's also held at the district's central office. A framed pictured there reads:

In loving memory of:
Javier Amir Rodriguez
November 11, 2003 - August 3, 2019
Your presence we miss.
Your memory we treasure.
Loving you always.
Forgetting you never.

Crime / News / Top Stories / Video

Erik Elken

Erik Elken co-anchors ABC-7’s flagship newscasts.


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