DENVER (CBS4) – The son of two victims from the El Paso Walmart shooting returned home on Monday after attending his father’s funeral and helping his mother recover from her injuries as he prepares to move her from Texas to Colorado.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Alvaro Mena recalled. “I get a call from my sister, ‘Hey my mom’s been shot at Walmart,’ she’s panicking and crying so I’m crying.”
Mena has lived in Colorado for over 30 years and he was home when he learned about his parents. He rushed to get to El Paso flying first to San Antonio before reaching to the hospital where his mother was treated by Saturday night. The next day he found out his father was in critical condition at the same hospital.
“I was with him all morning until he passed,” Mena said. “You got to learn to live with that, that’s the hardest thing, that we’re never going to see him again.”
Spending time in town has helped his family to feel a sense of community with the other victims but it has also forced them to reconsider how they view that place. Mena says his mother no longer wants to live there and their entire family does not feel safe outside. His mother should be released on Wednesday and he will return to El Paso later this month to help her relocate to Denver.
“It’s just a horrible scene but the unity of El Paso citizens is great,” he said. “There’s too much hate out there, there shouldn’t be that much hate out there.”
For the past week, they have struggled to balance grieving his father while remaining strong for his mother. The funeral was on Friday and while his mother was still a patient at the hospital, she was able to attend the service. Mena stayed with his father through the morning until he died the Monday after the shooting. He was one of 22 victims killed when a gunman attacked a Walmart on Aug. 3.
“It’s still fresh in our memory like it was yesterday,” Mena said. “My dad was a great person, I mean I am here because of him.”
He hopes from this tragedy comes an important lesson to all to appreciate life and for those carrying out these shootings to understand all who are impacted by the loss of one life. Mena and his sisters say they are much more cautious when they go out now. The shooting is always on their mind, but he hopes the right solutions can prevent others from experiencing the same pain.
“No family has to go through this again because it’s very hard,” Mena said.
Mena set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral and hospital expenses.