‘Blood needed urgently': People line up to donate blood hours after El Paso shooting

El Pasoans answered officials' calls for blood donation at local hospitals

EL PASO – Hundreds of people lined up at El Paso hospitals Saturday in hopes of helping out dozens of victims who were injured in a mass shooting at a Walmart in a local shopping center. 

"Blood needed urgently. Multiple injured transported to various hospitals. Blood donation centers Vitalent Blood Services at 424 S Mesa Hills and 133 N Zaragoza," the El Paso police department tweeted about five hours after the shooting. 

El Pasoans answered the call. Sandra Ramirez, a local reporter with KTSM, shared video on Twitter of a line forming outside a hospital to donate blood. Volunteers were handing out pizza and others had donated water.



Other photos and videos showed a line of dozens of cars and people outside blood donation stations in El Paso.




"Proud of my new/old hometown. Easily 40+ cars in this line at the blood donation center, and more on foot walking in... Hundreds standing in line wrapped around the building... In 100 degree sun; and no one’s abandoning the line," Patrick Dillon tweeted. 

So many people responded to help out their neighbors that hospital officials said they were at capacity and rescheduling appointments for Sunday and Monday. They said blood would be needed for weeks, particulalry because summer is typically a slower time for donations. Officials asked people who want to help to reach out to the Red Cross or schedule an appointment rather than showing up to the hospitals. 

CNN interviewed Frances Yepez, who was standing in line at one of the centers. She said the line is continuing to grow and the current wait is hourslong and that people just want to help.

About 18 people were reported dead and dozens others were injured in the shooting. Police believe a white male in his 20s acted alone. Photos shared online indicate the shooter used a semi-automatic rifle and police said there were more than 1,000 people in the store when he opened fire around 10 a.m. local time. 

A KSAT reporter on the way to El Paso to bring you on-the-ground coverage. Visit KSAT.com or watch on-air for the latest.


About the Authors:

Kolten Parker is digital executive producer at KSAT. Previously, he worked at the San Antonio Express-News and the Texas Observer.

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.