When a gunman entered a busy El Paso Walmart Saturday and began firing on crowds of back-to-school shoppers, Ana Gabriela Vitela became paralyzed by fear.
“My mom froze. I yelled at her to go but she remained still," Vitela's 9-year-old son Eduardo Gabriel Mier told Telemundo 48 in El Paso.
That's when, according to Eduardo, he grabbed his mother by the hand and led her, running, to the emergency exit. Both of them walked out the store unscathed.
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The young boy is being hailed a hero for not cowering in the wake of danger and getting his mother to safety.
Vitela recounted in an interview with Telemundo 48 that, in the moment, she was thinking about her son's safety and “didn’t know what she should do" as the shooter fired indiscriminately inside the store.
"I was scared, but then I reacted," Vitela said. "I thank God and my son because we're alive and nothing happened to us."
She said her feet trembled as she tried to drive away in her car after seeing "a lot of people wounded, dead and covered with blood outside."
“When I look at the store I get goosebumps and think about what we lived through inside there. I’m very scared,” Vitela added.
The massacre left 22 people dead and scores more injured. El Paso's police chief, Greg Allen, said investigators believe the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, posted an anti-immigrant screed that appeared online shortly before the attack. Crusius is being held on capital murder charges, though federal prosecutors are also considering charging Crusius with hate crimes.