On Saturday, Jordan and Andre Anchondo had a full day planned. According to the Washington Post, the couple was in the midst of family activities, shopping for school supplies, and planning to host a birthday party for their six-year-old daughter in their new home. All those plans came to a sudden end when a violent, hateful attack erupted in an El Paso Walmart, killing both husband and wife, along with 20 other victims. In their final moments, the couple acted to protect their newborn son, shielding him from bullets, likely saving his life.
In the incomprehensible aftermath of the horrific crime, Leta Jamrowski, Jordan’s 19-year-old sister, told the Associated Press, “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.”
The 2-month-old baby, named Paul, suffered broken fingers when his mother collapsed while holding him during the deadly mass shooting on Saturday morning. The family later learned that his father attempting to shield his wife and child from the bullets flying in the deadly mass shooting.
Jordan and Andre had celebrated their first wedding anniversary in recent days, and Andre had built the house in which they were excited to host their daughter’s birthday party. According to family, the almost-six-year-old and one-year-old girls were from Jordan’s previous relationships, but Andre was actively involved in their lives and Jordan was a loving stay-at-home mom to her three children.
The mother and father’s acts of self-sacrifice in their final moments can leave no doubt of their love for their child. Jordan’s aunt, Elizabeth Terry, told the Guardian, “He’s alive because of the heroics of both his mother and father,” she said, adding, “They are clearly amazing parents – self-sacrificing in every sense of the word … It’s a huge loss to the family and a huge loss to the world.”
The couple had just dropped their 5-year-old off at cheerleading camp and were shopping for school supplies and last-minute items for their daughter’s birthday party later that day when they were killed. The extended family has come together to support the family with Terry telling the Guardian they are trying to support the three children with “a lot of hugs, a lot of kisses, a lot of holding them tight.”
Jordan’s cousin, Monique Terry said the older children are still confused and in shock, especially the 5-year-old preparing to celebrate her birthday. Terry explained, “Their oldest keeps asking for her mom and dad.”
Speaking of her cousin’s sacrifice, Terry said, “Her husband was in front of the gunman to protect Jordan, and Jordan was protecting her baby.” She continued, “That explains who she was as a person – she gave everything for her baby.”
Two years ago, a pregnant mother survived another of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings in Las Vegas by crawling to safety, her only thoughts being to protect her preborn son. In that story, both mother and child survived, with a birth just two days after the shooting.
In this story, sadly Jordan and Andre did not survive the attack, but their sacrifice has left a legacy for their children that will live on long after the despicable, hate-filled crime has ended. This story is bringing hope to people around the world in this dark and sorrowful week of violence and pain.
Our prayers go out to all those affected by the deadly shooting in El Paso.