Twin recalls last moments with sister before fatal shooting

Symela Haun was having lunch with her twin sister, 28-year-old Rochel Zuniga, and Zuniga’s 9-year-old daughter Thursday afternoon, who had just been named Colt of the Month at her elementary school.

That was the last time Haun saw her sister, who was fatally shot in the early hours of Friday morning, reportedly by her common-law husband, 32-year-old Jerome Nelson.

Haun didn’t find out about her sister’s death until around 8 a.m. Friday morning.

“I just had a bad feeling, so when they told me, I just cried,” Haun said.

A probable cause affidavit stated that Nelson told officers he was woken up by Zuniga pointing a revolver in his face. When he took the gun from her, she grabbed a shotgun. Nelson then reportedly pointed the revolver at her and pulled the trigger.

Nelson told officers when he pulled the trigger, he saw Zuniga fall to the floor and he passed out and woke up some time later. The report stated he told officers a period of time went by in which he contemplated what to do before calling law enforcement.

Officers were called about Zuniga around 2:20 a.m. Friday at Sunset Apartments, 9100 Andrews Highway, an Odessa Police Department news release detailed.

Upon arrival, officers made contact with Nelson and located a woman’s body, later identified as Zuniga, with a shotgun in her hand, the affidavit stated. Officers also saw a revolver on the bed in the bedroom.

After being interviewed by investigators, Nelson was charged with murder, a first-degree felony.

Zuniga was a happy-go-lucky person, Haun said. They grew up in a large family, with mostly men, so Zuniga learned early how to joke around, but she was also a hard worker.

“She always liked to work for what she had,” Haun said.

Most importantly, Haun said, Zuniga loved her daughter.

“She loved her daughter more than anything in the world,” she said.

Nelson is currently in the Ector County Detention Center and no bond had been set as of Friday.

“I’m like half-empty right now, she was my identical twin,” Haun said. “I feel like he just took her away from me.”