Community members gathered on Tuesday to honor the lives of two young siblings who were gunned down on May 6 in the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets.
A prayer vigil was held at The Cross Church in Wylie for two of the victims, 8-year-old Sofia Mendoza and her 11-year-old sister Daniela Mendoza.
The girls had been shopping at Allen Premium Outlets with their mother, Ilda Mendoza, when a gunman entered the premises and opened fire, killing eight shoppers and wounding seven others before being neutralized by an Allen police officer.
Sofia and Daniela were killed, and their mother was injured in the attack.
Multiple pastors spoke at the vigil, including Rick Wood of Pursuit Christian Fellowship, who expressed hope for solidarity in the community.
“We, gathering here tonight all different people from all different backgrounds and different denominations and different hair textures…this said to me that we’re going to pray to an almighty God and not allow this to infiltrate our communities,” Wood said, as reported by NBC 5 DFW.
Krista Wilson, the principal of Cheri Cox Elementary, the school the Mendoza sisters had attended, also spoke at the vigil.
“These beautiful girls who touched the lives of many have left an indelible mark upon our lives,” Wilson noted.
Mayor Jeff Bickerstaff of Sachse, the hometown of the Mendoza family, had previously released a statement expressing support for the family and the entire community.
“Sachse is a community that unites around those who need our support. We are here for the family, their friends, Wylie ISD, and our residents who are reeling from a great loss,” Bickerstaff said. “We are here for the City of Allen as they respond to a horrific act of violence in their community.”
The Mendoza family released a statement thanking the medical professionals at Medical City in McKinney and conveying their appreciation for the community’s support. They also expressed their faith that they would someday see their daughters again.
“Sofia and Daniela were our whole world. They were incredibly loved since we learned of their existence. The only thing that gives peace to our grieving hearts is that we know that one day we will be together again,” the statement read. “One day we will hear their voices and see their beautiful faces again.”
Verified GoFundMe accounts have been set up to benefit the Mendoza family and the families of the other shooting victims.