An El Paso couple died shielding their 2-month-old son after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart on Saturday.
Jordan Anchondo and her husband, Andre, were among the 20 killed last weekend. Speaking at a hospital where the 2-month-old was being treated for broken bones, Jordan's sister, Leta Jamrowski, told the Associated Press that Jordan, 25, held onto her son after the suspected 21-year-old gunman from Allen, Texas, targeted mainly Hispanic shoppers during a busy back-to-school season.
"From the baby's injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him," Jamrowski said. "So when she got shot she was holding him and she fell on him, so that’s why he broke some of his bones. So he pretty much lived because she gave her life."
The Anchondos, who have three children, had reportedly dropped off their 5-year-old daughter at cheerleading practice before they went to Walmart. Following the shooting, both parents and their son were taken to a hospital, where Jordan died alone on Saturday. Her aunt, Elizabeth Terry, told CNN that the family had had trouble immediately finding her.
"She had the most contagious smile and laugh," Terry said of her niece. "We lost the light of our family and the light of our heart."
On Sunday, Andre's brother, Tito Anchondo, announced on Facebook that Andre also died.
"It's official," Tito, who is currently raising funds for his brother's family, wrote. "He's gone."
One of Andre's friends, Koteiba Azzam, told the Associated Press that the 24-year-old had recently turned his life around following battles with drug addiction and the law. Andre had purportedly started a business, where he built things from granite and stone. He was also in the process of completing a home for his family, Azzam said.
"I love the guy," he said. "He had the character and the charisma."
In addition to their 2-month-old son and 5-year-old daughter, the Anchondos leave behind a 2-year-old child.
Federal authorities said Sunday that they would handle the shooting as a domestic terrorism case. Investigators are purportedly in the process of deciding whether to also treat the massacre as a hate crime, after a racist, anti-immigrant post surfaced. Law enforcement are now seeking to determine whether the suspect, who was arrested without engaging in a shootout with police, was responsible for the writing.
El Paso is a border town in Texas that has a population of 168,000, most of whom are Latino.