El Paso

Duranguito battle leads to threats, security concerns


EL PASO, Texas - The battle over the fate of the Duranguito neighborhood in Downtown El Paso is getting ugly.

Friday, members of the group fighting to protect the neighborhood from demolition voiced concerns over a Facebook post appearing to call for violence against them. On the other side, the City has expressed concerns about the mayor's safety.

The Facebook post in question was shared by Paso del Dur supporter Miguel Juarez. It appears to came from an El Pasoan who opposes the protests organized by Paso del Sur and has since been deleted.

The post showed photos of the Charlottesville tragedy next to Duranguito supporters, apparently implying the same thing can happen here, adding "I know a few Dodge Challenger owners." During the protest in Charlottesville, a woman was killed and many others injured after being run down by a Dodge Challenger driven by an avowed white supremacist.

"Those kind of ridiculous thinly-veiled threats, can actually materialize into real action and that's that's considered terrorism," said Ligia Arguilez, a Paso del Sur member shocked to hear about the Facebook post.
"I think we should take it seriously. I think the community should be disturbed through those type of threats," said Arguilez.

ABC-7 reached out to Dona Ana County about the post, which came from an account owned by a county employee. The county attorney told ABC-7 they were aware of the issue and were looking into it, possibly as an off-duty conduct violation.

The mayor's office in El Paso has also expressed concerns about Mayor Dee Margo's safety, telling ABC-7 he would need an extra security detail if he were to appear on ABC-7 Xtra Sunday night.
"Not me. Not any of us - has been physically threatened or harmed," Historian Max Grossman said, "I have received quite a bit of hate mail, but nothing that raises to that level."

ABC-7 asked Grossman, who has been leading the effort to save Duranguito, about some of the actions of Paso del Sur members after a demolition company started to bring down buildings Tuesday.

"It was a passionate moment. You walk into a barrio, you're going to level a barrio - what do you expect right? Obviously, people are going to do what they can to prevent it," Grossman said.

ABC-7 also reached out to Jose Quintero, who has served as a spokesman for Paso del Sur. He can be seen in video recorded by ABC-7 putting chains back on demolition vehicles as employees try and take them off. Quintero could also be heard cursing at the employees.

"I'm not too sure I remember that exchange," said Quintero, "Obviously, things will get heated and I feel like we've kept a very peaceful and respectful atmosphere here in the neighborhood." Quintero said Paso del Sur tries its best not to escalate the situation, saying its  motto is to deescalate and not engage in any violence.

In order to make sure things remain peaceful, an El Paso Police officer has been stationed in Duranguito all day.


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