KTSM 9 News

Traffic stop leads to deportation of El Paso Walmart shooting victim

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A survivor of the El Paso Walmart shooting has been deported, according to the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services in El Paso.

The woman, only identified as Rosa to protect her identity, was arrested on Wednesday for two outstanding citations from 2015 after a traffic stop by the El Paso police.

She was booked into the El Paso County Jail Annex and transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which deported Rosa to Cuidad Juarez on Friday morning, where she remains.

Rosa and her sister were cooperating with investigators on the Walmart shooting case because she said they saw the shooter attack the first victim outside before he went into the store on Aug. 3.

“We basically saw everything before he entered the store and we wanted to tell what we saw,” she said in a phone interview with KTSM 9 News on Friday evening. She and her sister then contacted Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services so they could speak with investigators.

“Rosa is a survivor of one of the most horrific events to ever take place in El Paso. She came forward and presented herself to both El Paso police and FBI officials to give a statement of what she saw on that fateful day,” said Anna Hey, Deputy Director/Attorney at Law, of Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, and Supervisor of the Survivors of Crime Unit. “The information she has was sufficient for the District Attorney’s office to issue a certification that she has been helpful in the investigation.”

The traffic stop happened on Wednesday, as Rosa was driving home. She was stopped because of a non-working brake light.

Rosa, who said she grew up in El Paso and graduated from Jefferson High School, said she does not know a life in Mexico.

“I have my whole life (in El Paso). I got there when I was little — I don’t remember anything about Juarez,” she said. “I feel like my life was ending at that moment” when they told her she was being deported.

Hey said ICE officials deporting her, “leaving her unsupported in Juarez,” is a blow to Rosa.

“This decision amounts to a re-victimization of this young lady, who only came forward to help build the case against the shooter in the racist attack,” Hey said in the statement.