Friend says suspect and one victim in double murder were dating

Kyle Ibarra said Jose Manuel Varela and Stephanie Herrera had dated for about seven years.

El Paso police say Jose Manuel Varela shot and killed Stephanie Herrera and her father, Enrique Herrera, Thursday morning in far east El Paso.

Stephanie Herrera and Varela had dated for about seven years, according to their friend Kyle Ibarra.

"They complemented each other well," Ibarra said. "It wasn't any different from any other relationship."

Police said Varela and Herrera got in an argument Wednesday night. Then, Varela went to Herrera's home around 4 a.m. Thursday.

Varela shot Enrique Herrera when he came to the door, before turning the gun on Stephanie, according to police.

"I can't excuse his actions and I can't justify them because it's unjustifiable," Ibarra said.

Varela shot Stephanie a second time, killing her, police said.

Police said Varela drove away, shot himself in the head and crashed his car on Rich Beem, about 4 miles away from the home.

"We don't know what stresses of what points were involved," Ibarra said.

Ibarra said the problems the couple had seemed typical for any relationship.

"There was some good in him that she saw," he said. "She loved him."

Now, Ibarra said all he can do is pray for closure.

"I pray she's in a better place. I pray that he is in a better place as well, that his peace and her peace as well as the family's peace can be found among this tragedy," he said.

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