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El Paso Vigil Celebrates Life Of Gunman's Youngest Victim, A Jokester Who Loved Soccer

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Courtesy Carlos Morales
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A vigil in El Paso on Monday celebrated the life of Javier Amir Rodriguez, age 15 — the youngest victim of Saturday's mass shooting at a Walmart.

He was supposed to be starting his sophomore year of high school. Instead, his friends and family gathered on a high school football field to honor his memory.

Juan Martinez, superintendent of Clint ISD, addressed the crowd.

"Javier did not deserve to be taken away from his parents," Martinez said. "Javier did not deserve to be taken away from his family. Javier did not deserve to be taken away from his friends. Javier did not deserve to be taken away from his school. And Javier did not deserve to be taken away from all of us."

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Credit Carlos Morales | Marfa Public Radio
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Several friends described Javier as an energetic soccer fanatic who loved cracking jokes. They said he would wait until he elicited laughter.

Sean Cerceres, 18, said it's been hard to fully process that his friend is no longer here.

"He was too young," Cerceres said. "You know, he was a sophomore in high school. Still had two more years to go."

When the speeches were over, his teammates formed a circle and embraced each other.

Javier's parents and sister released one white dove in his honor, followed by 21 more to honor the other shooting victims.