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El Paso couple shielding their baby from gunfire among the 22 dead

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Posted at 1:38 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 15:38:06-04

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. The couple had one other child, aged 2.

As the gunfire erupted, Jordan shielded her 2-month-old son, Terry said. Andre 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 the 22 people 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 spree in Dayton, Ohio, left nine dead.

Army veteran among the victims

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

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.

"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 were slain amid the gunfire, 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.

Jordan Anchondo died alone at the hospital because no friends or loved ones were 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.

Andre Anchondo owned a mechanic shop in El Paso, Terry said. Originally from Odessa, Texas, Jordan 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."

Eight Mexican nationals identified as victims

Authorities increased the death toll to 22 Monday, after two of the wounded died from their injuries.

Of the 22 killed, eight were Mexican nationals, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard said.

Jorge Calvillo García from Torreón, Mexico, was visiting his son, Luis Calvillo, and granddaughter, Emily. The three were outside the Walmart raising money for Emily's soccer team when gunfire erupted.

García shielded his granddaughter and her teammates from the bullets, relative Raul Ortega told CNN affiliate KFOX. He said the girl's father, a coach for the soccer team, was also shot and is in critical condition.

Sara Esther Regalado and Adolfo Cerros Hernández were among those killed in the rampage. The couple's daughter, Sandra Ivonne Cerros, posted on Facebook about her parents, saying the family is "devastated."

"We thank you infinitely for your prayers, your support, concern, calls and messages," Cerros wrote. "They have been a great company during this ordeal."

Regalado was from Juarez and Hernández was from Aguascalientes.

Elsa Mendoza de la Mora was a teacher and director of an elementary school. Relatives described her as a sister, wife, and mother, CNN affiliate KTSM reported.

"Thank you very much to all the people who have been attentive to my family and me. I know my mother will get all that love that we share," her son Antonio posted to his Facebook page. "How much love you gave me. How much strength you taught me. Having been your son and your student of life has been the best of my life. Thanks mom. Love you."

Gloria Irma Márquez of Juarez was remembered as "a dedicated mother, grandmother and friend."

"It's in times like these that we come together to help people in these unanticipated times of loss and sadness to help one another and extend a helping hand to the people we care for," her niece Brianna Klein posted to a GoFundMe page .

The other three Mexican victims were identified as María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe from Chihuahua; Ivan Filberto Manzano from Ciudad Juarez; and Juan de Dios Velasquez Chairez from Zacatecas.