EL PASO, Texas — A shopping trip for school supplies at a Texas Walmart ended in tragedy for a mother who was fatally shot while shielding her infant son from gunfire, her aunt told CNN.
Jordan and Andre Anchondo were killed after a gunman opened fire in an El Paso shopping center on Saturday, Elizabeth Terry told CNN.
The couple was shopping for school supplies at Walmart after dropping off their daughter at cheer practice, Terry said on Sunday.
The mother of three later died at a hospital after using her body to protect her 2-month-old son from the gunfire, the aunt said. Later Sunday, Terry confirmed Andre Anchondo died, too.
“How do parents go school shopping and then die shielding their baby from bullets?” Terry 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.”
Anchondo was one of at least 20 people killed after the gunman opened fire 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 spree in Dayton, Ohio, left nine dead.
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 and is due to undergo an MRI, said Terry, who traveled from Sacramento after the shooting to be with her family in El Paso.
It took longer to figure out what happened to the couple, Terry said.
Jordan Anchondo died alone at the hospital because no one was able to immediately find her, her aunt said. Anchondo’s father confirmed her identity.
“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.
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. In addition to her two-month-old son, she had two children ages 5 and 2.
“She was light of the family. She had the most contagious smile and laugh,” Terry told CNN.
“We lost the light of our family and the light of our heart. She would talk with anyone. She had a heart of gold.”