PHOENIX — Steve Ronnebeck's son, Grant was killed in 2015.
Police said Grant, while working at a QT in Mesa, was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant, who was already out on bond.
“Soon as Grant handed him over the cigarettes, the man shot Grant point blank in the face, killing him," Ronnebeck said.
Police said Apolinar Altamirano shot Grant over a pack of cigarettes..
Now Ronnebeck is working for change, coming back to the Valley after spending time in New Mexico as part of We Build the Wall, a group of private individuals who build border fencing.
“It’s something no parent should ever, ever, ever, have to endure ... just the total devastation at that moment in my life,” Ronnebeck said. “My son’s death was preventable.”
Ronnebeck has since been part of local and federal efforts to change laws, including most recently as a member of We Build the Wall.
The organization sprung up from a GoFundMe page which said it would give money to the federal government to pay for a wall on America's southern border.
When the group realized they could not guarantee the money would go toward wall funding, they formed a nonprofit organization to build the wall privately.
The group spent time this past week completing its first part of border wall on private property in New Mexico. And Ronnebeck was there, even writing his son's name on one of the slabs.
Ronnebeck admitted that the wall might not be able to stop violent criminals from crossing into the United States, but said it is not about stopping all crime.
“Is the wall going to stop all of it? No," he said.
"Is that wall going to be a deterrent and is that wall going to be able to save lives? Yes.
“If Grant is saving a life right now by guiding me to do what I’m doing, I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s a great thing. “