World

What we know about the El Paso mass shooting victims

In the border town of El Paso, Texas, a shooter opened fire and left 22 people dead and more than two dozen injured. These are some of their stories.

Gunman killed 22 people, 8 from Mexico, injured more than 2 dozen

Felipe Avila puts his head in his hands as he cries on Sunday in El Paso, Texas, where people gathered to honour the memory of the victims of the mass shooting on Saturday. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman/The Associated Press)

In the border town of El Paso, Texas, a shooter opened fire and left 22 people dead and more than two dozen injured. 

Using a rifle, the El Paso gunman opened fire in an area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school shopping season. 

Many of the victims were shot at a Walmart.

Here are some of their stories:

Jordan Anchondo

Jordan Anchondo was among those killed, Anchondo's sister said, and she apparently died while protecting her two-month-old son from the hail of bullets.

Leta Jamrowski of El Paso spoke to The Associated Press as she paced a waiting room at the University Medical Center of El Paso, where her two-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. "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 five-year old daughter at cheerleading practice before going to shop for school supplies on Saturday at a Walmart in El Paso.

Andre Anchondo

Andre Anchondo, husband of Jordan Anchondo, died while shielding his wife and baby from the shooter. 

"I knew that he would have done anything for them — and he did," friend Benjamin Thompson told CBC's As It Happens guest host Piya Chattopadhyay.

"It was the only thing that was positive out of everything that happened, not that any of it was positive. But the fact that their little boy is alive is amazing.

"That child is a ray of light in everyone's eyes and has always been and will continue to be, because of them."

Friends said Andre Anchondo had recently turned his life around after struggles with drug dependence and run-ins with the law.

Andre Anchondo was killed in the shooting. Friends and family say his wife, Jordan, died protecting their baby. (Jordan Anchondo/Facebook)

"I love the guy," Koteiba "Koti" 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 Anchondo had started a business in El Paso building things from granite and stone. He also was on the verge of completing a home for his family.

The Anchondos were preparing to throw a housewarming party, having celebrated their first wedding anniversary last week. 

Jessica Coca Garcia and Memo Garcia

Jessica Coca Garcia and Memo Garcia were at the Walmart in El Paso to raise funds for a youth sports team one of their children played on when a gunman opened fire, wounding them, a relative said.

Norma Coca told Wichita, Kan.-television station KWCH that her daughter and son-in-law were near the front doors of the Walmart when they were shot.

Coca, who lives in Salina, Kan., said her daughter, Jessica Coca Garcia, was shot three times in the leg. She said her son-in-law, Memo Garcia, was shot twice in the leg and once in the back. She said her daughter was in stable condition and her son-in-law was in critical condition.

Jessica Coca Garcia's father, Don Coca, said they have family in the El Paso area who were able to be with the couple. Don Coca says: "She was just crying ... I told her that our prayers are there and we're on our way."

The couple's five-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter were also at the Walmart but were not shot.

Juan Velazquez

Juan and Nicholasa Velazquez had just parked their car at the Walmart store when they were approached by the shooter.

Their granddaughter, Daisy Fuentes, told KTSM-TV that after being shot, her grandmother called Fuentes' mother.

"They were just crying telling us that it hurt where they shot them at, it hurt," Fuentes said.

Both were hospitalized but 77-year-old Juan Velazquez, who was shot in the side of his stomach, died Monday. Nicholasa Velazquez was shot in the face and stomach, but relatives said her prognosis is good.

Cruz Velazquez told The New York Times his father, who was born in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, moved first to Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, and then to Denver, where he lived for 30 years. He eventually moved to El Paso because it was peaceful.

"He fought to get ahead in the United States," said Cruz Velazquez, who said his father had become a U.S. citizen.

Luis Alfonso Juarez

At age 90, Luis Alfonso Juarez was the oldest person killed at the Walmart store. In a statement to The New York Times, Juarez's family said he had "lived the American dream."

Juarez's family said he emigrated from Mexico and eventually became an American citizen. Juarez, who had a long career as an iron worker, bought a home, and he and his wife raised seven children.

"When people mistreated him, he always understood and felt that everyone is going through something so we need to be nice to each other," relatives said in their statement. "He was fascinated to learn about other cultures, and was always curious before he was ever angry."

They said Juarez, who was in good health, still drove and enjoyed many interests and hobbies. He'd even recently painted the eaves of the house.

"We can't begin to describe the pain we are all feeling right now, and we are heartbroken that our grandmother's final years with her husband were so violently ripped away," the statement said.

Mario de Alba

Mario de Alba, 45, had come to El Paso with his family from Mexico to go shopping.

Described by his sister Cristina de Alba as an "excellent father" and as a "decent, hardworking person," he was in serious condition Sunday after being shot in the back, the bullet exiting via his diaphragm.

His wife, Olivia Mariscal, and 10-year-old daughter Erika both appear to be recovering after also being wounded, de Alba said from the El Paso hospital where her brother is being treated.

The family lives in Chihuahua, Mexico — a four-hour drive south of El Paso — and was buying school supplies in the Texas city. El Paso is a popular shopping destination for people who live in northern Mexico.

Mario de Alba's Facebook page shows him as a devoted father to Erika.

In one picture, taken in a living room, Erika cups her hand in the shape of a heart in front of an entertainment centre. On the shelves behind her are the words FAMILY and PEACE in bold letters.

Javier Amir Rodriguez

Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, was starting his sophomore year in high school when he was fatally shot.

The Clint Independent School District, which identified the teen as being among the victims Monday, said he attended Horizon High School in El Paso.

The district said it had been in contact with his family and sent condolences. Valeria Chavez, a cousin of the youth, told KFOX-TV that Rodriquez was at the Walmart with an uncle who described what happened.

"He told me my cousin had made eye contact with the shooter and they were in the bank and as soon as the shooter walked in, he grabbed my cousin. He says he saw the shooter shoot him," Chavez said.

The school district said counsellors would be available, and a vigil was set for Monday night at the high school's football stadium.

David Johnson

David Johnson, 63, was back-to-school shopping with his wife and nine-year-old granddaughter when he was killed, relatives said.

Johnson's nephew, Dominic Patridge, said in a statement to KVIA-TV that his aunt heard gunshots while checking out. Johnson told her and his granddaughter to "get down, and if anything happened to him" to run to the store next door, he said.

David Johnson, centre, is seen with his nine-year-old granddaughter, Kaitlyn-Rose Melendez, left, and wife Kathy Johnson. The Johnson family credits him with saving Kaitlyn Rose and his wife by pushing them to the ground at a checkout counter at the Wal-Mart in El Paso. (Stephanie Melendez via AP)

"The next thing she knew, he was on the ground covered in blood," he said. Patridge said his aunt played dead and shielded her granddaughter as the shooter walked past.

Patridge called his uncle "the kindest and most giving individual I've ever known."

Arturo Benavides

Arturo Benavides, a U.S. Army veteran who retired as a bus driver a few years ago, was checking out at the Walmart when the gunman entered.

His niece, Jacklin Luna, told the Los Angeles Times that 60-year-old Benavides was among those killed. His wife, Patricia, was sitting on a nearby bench and was pushed into a bathroom for safety, Luna said.

Benavides, who was born and raised in El Paso, had worked as a bus driver for El Paso's Sun Metro.

"I spent my childhood waking up at their house, sitting out on the front porch with him on Sunday mornings, listening to the oldies on the radio," said Luna, who described him as kind and generous.

His nephew, Ruben Rojas, said Benavides was an "easygoing" man who enjoyed watching sports and was also a good Roman Catholic who went to Mass.

Ivan Manzano

Ivan Manzano, who had a five-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son, was from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and ran a business that supplies orthopedic implants.

His wife, Adriana Manzano, learned from the FBI that he was killed in the shooting. She travelled to the Mexican consulate in El Paso on Monday to repatriate her husband's body, and said he was known by everyone as friendly and calm — "very practical."

Adriana Manzano said she has told her children only that their father had died in an "accident," believing that giving a full explanation might generate resentments.

Mexico identifies 8 citizens killed

Mexico's Foreign Ministry identified citizens who were killed in the shooting. The ministry did not provide their ages. They are:

  • Sara Esther Regalado of Ciudad Juarez.
  • Adolfo Cerros Hernandez of Aguascalientes.
  • Jorge Calvillo Garcia of Torreon.
  • Elsa Mendoza de la Mora of Yepomera.
  • Gloria Irma Marquez of Juarez.
  • Maria Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, originally of Chihuahua.
  • Ivan Filiberto Manzano of Ciudad Juarez.
  • Juan de Dios Velazquez Chairez, originally of Zacatecas.

With files from CBC News

now