It was a normal Saturday for husband Juan de Dios Velazquez (77) and wife Estela Nicolasa (65) – they were about to enter a Walmart store to buy their groceries when shots rang out. Almost instinctively, Velazquez threw himself at his wife – taking several shots in the back. Because, the shooter was shooting from a close range, a few bullets passed through him and hit his wife too.
Juan de Dios has already had several surgeries at the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso. According to his niece, Ramos, ‘he may need more because the bullet punctured his organs”.
Estela, who hit in the stomach, was also operated on and is now stable. The medical center did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Juan de Dios Velazquez had only moved to El Paso, Texas, with his wife Estela Nicolasa from Ciudad Juarez, just across the border in Mexico, six months before they were caught in Saturday’s mass shooting at a Walmart store.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Saturday’s rampage – which killed 20 people, including seven Mexicans – appeared to be a hate crime. Police have cited a manifesto they attributed to the suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, as evidence that the bloodshed was racially motivated.