When Stephanie Melendez, her husband and two young daughters tested positive for the coronavirus, the person she most wanted to call was her father.
"I'm married. I have my family. He was still the one I called when I got sick and he'd bring me Gatorade," said Melendez, 32. "So when we get this virus that's been all over the news — oh — my dad's not there for me to call. It just kind of hits home a little harder."
Her father, David Johnson, was shielding his wife and granddaughter when a gunman who authorities say was targeting Latinos at a crowded Walmart in the Texas border city of El Paso fatally shot him and 22 other people. It was a shockingly violent weekend in the U.S., with another shooter hours later killing nine people in a popular nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio.
Events to mark the anniversary of the Aug. 3, 2019, shooting in El Paso, a largely Hispanic city of 700,000, have taken on a new look amid the coronavirus pandemic: parks lit with lanterns that people can walk or drive through; private tours for victims' families at a museum exhibit of items preserved from a makeshift memorial; and residents being asked to show support with online posts.
A service for victims' relatives held Sunday in a sprawling park allowed for social distancing. "We can't allow a shooter to define who we are, and we're not going to allow a virus to define who El Paso is," Samaniego said.