EL PASO, Texas – El Paso police officials Monday confirmed that Lazaro Ponce is the mystery hero who helped a baby and others in the Walmart mass shooting last year.
FBI agents interviewed Ponce on Monday in Memphis, confirming his actions helping others during the mass shooting Aug. 3, a police spokesman said.
"We can confirm that's the individual we are looking for," police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said.
"Not only did he remove the baby from among the dead bodies — it could have suffocated — he ran out and turned the baby over to emergency services personnel.
"He ran back into the store and with a shopping cart went to the towel section and went around treating the wounded and applying pressure."
Ponce is considered a witness and it will be up the El Paso County District Attorney's Office to decide whether he is brought back to El Paso, Carrillo said.
The FBI in El Paso said in a statement, “It is FBI policy to not confirm or deny the names of witnesses or victims of a crime. As this is still an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further."
Ponce in a series of telephone calls and an interview in Memphis, Tennessee, told the El Paso Times, part of the USA TODAY Network, that he was the previously unidentified mystery man seen on video running out with a baby at the Cielo Vista Walmart store.
He gave a detailed account, saying he helped the baby, a man in a wheelchair and an elderly woman shot in an arm.
A white supremacist from Allen, Texas, is accused of killing 22 people and wounding more than two dozen others in what law enforcement has described as a domestic terror attack targeting Mexicans.
After he was interviewed by the El Paso Times, Ponce contacted El Paso police detectives and the FBI.
Investigators interviewed Ponce to determine whether his claims matched Walmart security camera video and other information investigators had about the day.
Ponce, 43, is a transient day laborer who has struggled with homelessness, drifting from city to city, ending up in Memphis earlier this month.
He and his wife said they were homeless in El Paso, staying in a makeshift camp next to the Sam's Club that is next to the Walmart.
The couple said they were at the Walmart when the gunman's shooting spree began.
Ponce has ties to the El Paso-Juárez area. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, and in his childhood lived in Juárez, Mexico. He was about 16 years old when he went to work alongside relatives in the Atlanta area.