Roswell City Councilor Elena Velasquez spoke Monday about the shooting death of her granddaughter, Victoria Velasquez- Arias. She said she hoped by speaking out that she might save a life in the future, by raising awareness about the dangers of domestic violence.
â€œI want people to know that domestic violence is serious. Domestic abusers are killers,â€ Velasquez said. Velasquez-Arias, 22, was shot and killed Friday afternoon. Her husband, Jose Arias, 19, was arrested in December for beating Velasquez- Arias.
He was arrested again, Saturday, for her murder.
â€œThis was not the first time he beat her. December was the first time she was hospitalized,â€ Velasquez said.
â€œHe kicked her. He bit her. He held a gun to her head. It was just brutal.â€ Velasquez said the system failed her granddaughter.
â€œArias was released four days ago, and now sheâ€™s dead,â€ she said. Velasquez had taken her granddaughter to The Nest, a domestic violence shelter in Ruidoso, to get help.
â€œI was warned that these people can be quite persuasive,â€ Velasquez said.
â€œThey tell you they love you. They tell you theyâ€™ve changed, and they promise it will never happen again.â€ Arias persuaded Velasquez-Arias to marry him while he was incarcerated.
â€œThey married and then she had second thoughts about her decision,â€ said Velasquez. Velasquez said it was hard to believe her granddaughter is gone, and she only hopes she could help others in the same situation. Victoriaâ€™s children miss their mother, Velasquez said.
â€œThey are little. They keep asking where mommy is,â€ she said. Velasquez said she is getting calls about the memorial. She asks people to make contributions to the Roswell Refuge in her granddaughterâ€™s memory.