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No child should die for a political agenda

I would like to extend my condolences and prayers to the families and victims from last weekend’s violent and unnecessary killings.

My family and I, as well as two other Santa Fe youth basketball players, were in El Paso, Texas, participating in the Latino World Basketball Championships. On our way to the gym, we stopped at the Walmart and left minutes before this evil person stormed in and took the many innocent lives.

Before leaving Walmart, we spoke with a group of children near the exit door who were fundraising for their sports team. One little girl was really working her sales pitch selling drinks and chicharrones, while her father smiled from a distance.

They did not deserve to die or be victimized for one person’s idiotic beliefs. It is unfortunate that political debate and the hate stemmed from current political views has caused so many innocent people to lose their lives.

To know that my children, my wife, and the kids whose parents entrusted me to take care of their children while in El Paso, could have potentially lost their lives if we were in the store an extra 20-30 minutes, is not a feeling any parent should experience.

As a 21-year law enforcement officer, I have been in situations where bullets have flown in my direction. However, I trained for those days, I was properly equipped and was supported with resources to effectively address the situation. This weekend’s events are a realization that anyone, I mean ANYONE, even trained and experienced, could fall victim to an act of terrorism. An act that we as a society and political agendas are creating.

Brown, black, white, we are all one race! We are a human race that has families, desires, a will to live and an opportunity to succeed in this crazy world. We need to change the political theater in our country and collectively focus on how to peacefully resolve political differences – un niño y su familia que venden chicharrones no deberían ser víctimas de la política.

Robert Vasquez is deputy chief of the Santa Fe Police Department. He posted this statement on the SFPD Facebook page last Monday, two days after the massacre at an El Paso Walmart store.

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