In the border town of El Paso, Texas, a shooter opened fire and left 20 people dead and more than two dozen injured. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.
Jordan Anchondo was among those killed in El Paso, Anchondo’s sister said, and she apparently died while protecting her 2-month-old son from the hail of bullets. The next day, her family confirmed her husband Andre had also died.
Leta Jamrowski of El Paso spoke to The Associated Press as she paced a waiting room at the University Medical Center of El Paso. That’s where her 2-month-old nephew was being treated for broken bones – the result of his mother’s fall.
“From the baby’s injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him,” she 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.”
Jordan, a mother of three, and Andre Anchondo had dropped off her 5-year old daughter at cheerleading practice before going to shop for school supplies on Saturday at a Walmart in El Paso. They never returned.
Jordan Anchondo’s death was confirmed in the hours after the attack, but the family agonized as investigators waited to confirm the fate of her husband Andre. At 6:33 pm on Sunday evening, Andre’s brother, Tito, wrote on Facebook: “It’s official……he’s gone.”
Jordan and Andre Anchondo had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, his brother told The Washington Post. Koteiba “Koti” Azzam, a friend of Andre Anchondo, had fond memories of him.
“I love the guy,” Azzam said in a phone interview from San Marcos, Texas, where he attends Texas State University. “He had the character and the charisma.”
Azzam said Andre Anchondo had started a business in El Paso, building things from granite and stone, and made it successful through hard work. He also was on the verge of completing a home for his family.
In a racist screed allegedly written by the suspect, he expressed support for the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter, and denounced the increasing Hispanic population in Texas. Prosecutors are still deciding whether they want to pursue federal hate crime charges against the suspect.
“It makes you question your faith almost,” said Azzam, who is Muslim. “But God didn’t have a part in it. The hands of man altered my friend’s life in a drastic way.”