Mother seeking asylum escapes deadly mass shooting with young son

El Paso Strong

Woman says her biggest fears followed her to El Paso

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) ⁠— As the stories of survival from the mass shooting come to light, one mother says the fears she already had for her family followed her to El Paso.

Ana Gabriela Vitela of Juarez is seeking asylum in the United States along with her family.

“Yesterday when we were there close by, I felt the goosebumps all over. I didn’t feel right and I told my husband that I didn’t want to go back. Maybe in time when my fear goes away because right now, I’m truly afraid,” Vitela said.

Vitela and her 9-year-old son were at Walmart shopping for ingredients to bake a cake to celebrate her husband’s birthday. She said she remembers seeing the gunman shooting an older man.

In that moment, I couldn’t react right away,” Vitela said. “My son grabbed my hand and he kept pulling my hand saying, ‘Let’s go let’s go.'”

Vitela told KTSM they ran out of the store. Days later, her son continues to have nightmares and is afraid to leave their house.

Vitela said she wants the hate against Mexicans and all immigrants to end. “If you can see the people that are killing here and doing a lot of things here in the United States, they’re the same ones that live here and are from this country because you don’t see a Mexican doing things like this person did.”

Vitela said she mourns for those who lost someone, “I could only imagine how they must be feeling. It’s a pain you can’t explain. I thank God that my son and I are here alive and nothing happened to us.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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