MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — About 60 people gathered outside a Martinsburg church Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil to honor a local shop owner injured after a shooting during an attempted robbery.
According to Martinsburg police officers, 64-year-old Guadalupe Bustillos owns Lupita’s Grocery Store at 149 N. Queen St. She was taken to INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Virginia and remains in critical but stable condition.
A crowd gathered in front of Saint Johns Lutheran Church, across from the store, to light candles and pray for her full recovery.
Pastor Matthew Day addressed the crowd, saying this incident does not represent the entire downtown community.
“We’re not going to let one act of violence define who we are,” Day said. “Even though there have been acts of violence before, we will not let violence define who we are as a community.”
Tammy Lopez, of Martinsburg, spoke of Bustillos’ kindness and added this type of violence was not necessary.
“If that guy needed something for her, she probably would have gave it to him if he just asked,” she said. “It was unnecessary to have to shoot her.”
Rafael Zuniga, of Martinsburg, knew Bustillos and her family. He described Bustillos as a peaceful, godly woman.
“We need a lot of people like her spreading that love around,” Zuniga said. “Every time I was down or depressed, I would go to her store, not even to shop, but just to sit there and talk to her and she would give me encouraging words.”
Zuniga said he doesn’t visit downtown often but he hopes this incident will inspire change.
“I feel like a lot of people are going through stuff that are leading them to act this kind of way,” he said. “I feel like we need to come together as a community and unite.”
The suspect, 59-year-old Clyde Sylvester Patterson III, is in custody at the Eastern Regional Jail on $120,000 bond. He has been charged with robbery and malicious wounding.
Story by WEPM’s Elias McMillan