El Paso

'God protected me': Elderly Walmart shooting survivor talks about coming face-to-face with gunman

Shooting survivor shares story

EL PASO, Texas - The Borderland was first introduced to 71-year-old Rosa Calderon on Aug. 3.

That's when Rosa tells us she was walking into her favorite WalMart store near Cielo Vista.

She was standing next to a couple at the cash register when the unthinkable happened. 

"When we were in between the counters, the registers, I heard somebody screaming, a shooter, somebody's shooting." said Rosa.

Rosa and the couple tried getting out when they heard that. 

But their shopping carts became entangled, blocking their exit.

Instead, all three decided to crouch down on the floor. 

Rosa looked up and saw who she believed at the time, was a police officer.

"And all of a sudden I saw this man standing in front of the register where I was because in front it was the bank. And he just came out from there. And he had already killed that couple with the baby."

That couple was Andre and Jordan Anchondo, shielding their two month-old baby.

Rosa does not remember the names of the couple next to her.

But she does remember the shooter coming after them.

"This man came around the counter, and from behind, he killed the couple. 

ABC 7 asked Rosa what she thought would happen next. 

"I knew, Oh my God, I'm next. And then I screamed."

That scream may have saved her.

One of the most ominous moments came when the shooter walked away.

This is how she described it.

"It was like the brush, it was un brochaso, encima de mi, la, la muerte."

Rosa is recovering at home and gave ABC-7 an exclusive and extensive interview to talk about that day, the day she looked the shooter in the eye just before he shot her.

She witnessed a couple with a baby being shot, a couple standing next to her shot, and a fifth person inside the Cielo Vista Walmart.

"That's when I saw an African-American man running. And he shot him."

ABC-7 is working to identify the man Rosa described. 

Rosa says the shooter then turned and shot Rosa in the arm, with the bullet causing extensive damage.

"The bullet destroyed all the bone in my elbow. That's why they are going to place una placa. "

Metal, Rosa says, will be placed in her arm on Sept. 3, one month to the day after the shooting.

Rosa says she's thankful she did not lose sensation in her hand.

In the days that followed the shooting rampage, the Borderland learned 22 people died and 27 were injured. Rosa talked through tears about why she survived.

"Well my question is, why did he not kill me? Because he could have done it, the same as the couple next to me. Why the only answer is, well, God protected me. He did not want me there yet. I, have not been able to cry. Right now my tears are coming down," Rosa paused before continuing. 

"It was a terrible surprise that in one instance, part of our bodies are damaged forever.  Physically and mentally," she said.

Fundraising events for the victims have raised almost $5 million. 

Although Rosa has a therapist, this single 71-year-old who lives by herself in a modest studio apartment behind a home, has been given three gift cards that amount to $1,500.

ABC-7 asked Rosa what she wants viewers to know about her experience that Saturday morning.

"Well that it was a horrible incident that, well that we don't deserve. and no one should have to go through this," she said.

Rosa says she came face to face with the shooter, even described what he was wearing.

She says the armed person the Borderland has been watching surveillance video of walking into the store. is the same person who shot five people in front of her.

You can watch the entire 20-minute interview with Rosa Calderon in the video player below.


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