El Paso couple shopping for school supplies dies trying to shield their baby from gunfire

Posted at 6:06 AM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 08:06:42-04

Jordan and Andre Anchondo brought their infant son to Walmart on Saturday as they shopped for school supplies. But only the little boy would survive the visit, their relatives told CNN.

The Anchondos were killed after a gunman opened fire in an El Paso shopping center on Saturday, Elizabeth Terry and Jesse Jamrowski said.

The couple — who had just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary — went to the store after dropping off their 5-year-old daughter at cheer practice, Terry said.

As the gunfire erupted, Jordan shielded her 2-month-son old, Terry said. Andre, meanwhile, jumped in front of his wife, Jamrowski said.

“The baby still had her blood on him. You watch these things and see these things and you never think this is going to happen to your family,” Terry said.

“How do parents go school shopping and then die shielding their baby from bullets?”

The Anchondos were among those killed Saturday in what authorities are investigating as an act of domestic terrorism. It was the third mass shooting in the United States in a week — and less than 24 hours later, another deadly shooting spreein Dayton, Ohio, left nine dead.

The family of 86-year-old Angie Englisbee told CNN she was also killed in the shooting. Her son, Will Englisbee, said authorities informed the family of her passing on Sunday. Will Englisbee told CNN his brother spoke with Angie at 10:31 a.m. when she was in the check-out line at Walmart.

Arturo Benavides, 60, was also killed in the shooting, his niece Jacklin Luna told CNN Sunday. Luna described her uncle as well- known and well-loved. “He was an absolutely caring and strong-willed man,” she said. “He was the person that would give any dime and shirt off his back, a meal and a home to anyone.

Benavides was an Army veteran and a bus driver who loved telling stories of his days in the service as a staff sergeant.

“He deserves nothing less than the world to know everything he did and the love he had left to share,” Luna said. “My nino didn’t deserve this, neither did any of the beautiful people that were taken from us.”

Leo Campos and Maribel Hernandez also among those killed, according to CNN affiliate KFOX/KDBC.

They had just dropped their dog off at the groomer before going to Walmart, Hernandez’s brother Al Hernandez told the affiliate.

He said the family didn’t realize anything was wrong until the groomer called them and said the dog hadn’t been picked up.

One of their family members was able to track the GPS of their vehicle to the Walmart parking lot, KFOX/KDBC reported.

Police told the family that both Campos and Hernandez died in the shooting, according to the affiliate.

The family had trouble confirming their deaths

The first call of an active shooter went out at 10:39 a.m. local time, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said. Around 2 p.m., Anchondo’s relatives started calling each other, saying the couple was not answering their phones, Terry said.

The baby was “pulled from under her body,” said Terry, the sister of Anchondo’s father, Paul, for whom the injured infant is named.

The infant suffered broken fingers but is home with family, Terry said. It took longer to figure out the couple’s fate, she said.

Jordan Anchondo died alone at the hospital because no one was able to immediately find her, her aunt said. “It took us a while to confirm and identify her throughout all the chaos,” she said.

Later Sunday, after holding out hope for hours that Andre Anchondo might still be alive, Terry told CNN that he was confirmed dead. She did not provide further details.

In addition to their 2-month-old son, the couple had two more children, ages 5 and 2.

Andre Anchondo owned a mechanic shop in El Paso, Terry said. Originally from Odessa, Texas, Anchondo loved being a mother to her children, Terry said.

“She had the most contagious smile and laugh,” Terry told CNN. “We lost the light of our family and the light of our heart.”

Seven Mexican nationals identified as victims

Of the 20 people killed, seven were Mexican nationals, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard said.

He identified them on Twitter as:

Sara Esther Regalado

Adolfo Cerros Hernández

Jorge Calvillo García

Elsa Mendoza de la Mora

Gloria Irma Márquez

María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe

Ivan Filberto Manzano