The funeral for one of the victims of the El Paso shooting was open to the public this weekend, and hundreds of people showed up to pay their respects. Margie Reckard was among those killed in the tragic attack, and her husband, Antonio Basco, reportedly posted an open invitation for the nation to come grieve with him. Nearly 1,000 people took him up on his offer.
Basco and Reckard did not have any close family living nearby them, according to local CBS News affiliate WBTW. He told the outlet that anyone in the area was welcome to join him in mourning his wife, a 63-year-old whom he had been married to for 22 years.
The Perches Funeral Home in El Paso expected the community to take Basco up on his offer ahead of time. Director Harrison Johnson told reporters they were preparing for a "multitude" of mourners, as people everywhere are still making sense of the massacre. Even they may not have foreseen the true turnout, however.
An estimated 850 people showed up to Reckard's funeral on Friday, according to a report by CNN. The line before her remains reportedly stretched down the block at one point, with visitors coming from as far as Arizona, Utah and California. So many flowers were sent that they overflowed the La Paz Faith Memorial and Spiritual Center. Reporters were live on the scene as well, reporting on the awe-inspiring show of solidarity and healing.
“If you ever started to lose faith in humanity, this will bring it back,” said CNN's Gary Tuchman. “We’re standing outside this large funeral home in El Paso. You saw the inside of this building where there are 500 people inside right now. This is the line, the waiting line people trying to get in. These are members of motorcycle clubs holding American flags. None of these people know Tony personally but in this line you’re looking at, I have counted over 400 people waiting to try to get in.”
“We spent the day with Tony yesterday. He’s such a nice man,” the reporter went on. “When he walked in today and looked at me he said ‘I can’t believe there really are this many people here.’ He was so thrilled and honored and happy and it makes us very glad to be part of this. It really feels like this is what humanity is about.”
Reckard was among the 22 people killed in the shooting, which took place on Aug. 3. A 21-year-old gunman accosted the Cielo Vista mall in El Paso, Texas with an assault rifle, beginning in the parking lot and then into the Walmart before he was apprehended by police. He confessed on the scene and remains in custody.