On Saturday, a shooter entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 people and injuring 26 more. Among those killed was 25-year-old Jordan Anchondo, a mom who "gave her life" to protect her 2-month-old son from harm, according to the Associated Press. Anchondo was shopping for school supplies with her husband at the time of the attack, the outlet reported.
Anchondo's sister, Leta Jamrowski, spoke with AP at the University Medical Center in El Paso after the shooting. Jamrowski was there with her young nephew, who was being treated for broken bones he sustained when his mother fell, and she revealed medical professionals believed Anchondo, a mom-of-three, was covering the child with her own body when she died.
"From the baby's injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him," Jamrowski told AP. "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."
Jamrowski also expressed fear that the infant not only lost his mother in the shooting, but his father, too. She said she hadn't yet been contacted by her brother-in-law, Andre Anchondo, and fears he was fatally shot, too, according to The Cut.
"They said that if he were alive, more than likely he would have gotten in contact by now," Jamrowski stated, according to PBS.
Jordan and Andre were El Paso residents, according to Daily Mail. The pair shared a 2-month-old son, and two older daughters, though their ages remain unknown. Daily Mail revealed that the couple just celebrated their 1-year wedding anniversary in the week prior to the shooting.
As more information rolls in about the El Paso shooting, so do stories of heroism in the face of grave danger. Reuters reported that an off-duty soldier who happened to be shopping at the center in which the Walmart was located sprung into action, potentially saving the lives of several children. Army Specialist Glendon Oakley spoke with KTSM-TV about his bravery, revealing that he was shopping for a jersey in a nearby store when kids ran in to report the shooting. Oakley told KTSM-TV, "I walked out and I got to Foot Locker and all I hear is 'Bang', 'Bang'."
Oakley told the outlet he had a license to carry a firearm and had his gun on him. "We're trained, when you hear gunshots, to pull out your weapon and think fast," he told KTSM-TV. He said that in the parking lot, he encountered "a whole bunch" of kids who were separated from their parents and decided to act.
"So I picked up as many as possible and carry them with me and another guy does as well," Oakley told KTSM-TV, apologizing to reporters for being somewhat in shock. "I'm sorry, I'm shaking."
Oakley told the outlet the despite being there to help, he faced some issues with police who were canvassing the area. "When I got out I guess one of the cops thought I was the shooter or something, so I had to show him my clip to show it was still full," he recalled. Fortunately, the situation between authorities and Oakley didn't escalate.
As for the events of Saturday, the shooting began at about 10:45 a.m. local, TIME reported. The Walmart was full at the time, with up to 3,000 people perusing the aisles at the time, the outlet revealed. Now it's being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to TIME.
In the wake of the El Paso shooting, politicians, celebrities, and members of the public have called for changes in gun legislation. Perhaps the most gut-wrenching calls came from presidential hopeful and El Paso native, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke. According to CNN, O'Rourke said the shooting shattered "any illusion that we had that progress is inevitable or that the change that we need is going to come of its own accord."
"There is no luxury in this democracy of sitting this one out, whether it is gun violence, whether it is many of the issues we discussed today," he continued, according to CNN. "It is on every single one of us to make this right."
As O'Rourke mentioned, Americans can't "sit this one out" because common-sense gun laws are needed now. No parent should ever fear for their life when shopping for school supplies, nor should anyone ever have to shield their child from a gunman.