October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Eric's mom

In memory of Eric Vela

On April 15, 1994, my son Eric Vela bought a Glock 9mm gun for protection. His dad took him to the gun range to practice. His dad also showed him how to clean it, with much joking around because he couldn’t quite put it back together again. Eric laughed at him. Eric was like that. He loved every minute of life. The next month, we celebrated his 22nd birthday. On July 21, 1994 he and his girlfriend were found shot to death. They had been in fear for their lives, and they had planned to move. Instead, they were found with their lives cut short, and the many friends and family, including his 17-month-old daughter, were and are deeply affected for years to come.

The worst part is that we do not know what exactly happened. The police determined immediately that it was a murder/suicide thing, with our son being the murderer. Anyone who knew Eric knew that he did not cause this. He loved people. He loved life. He stayed away from trouble. We will never be able to answer our granddaughter’s question, “Who died him?” She was 3 years old when she asked. She is 26 years old now. She graduated from University of Arizona and is working in IT. She is a precious young lady who looks so much like him and has some mannerisms like him. Life goes on, but we will always be brokenhearted.

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