Mom killed shielding child from gunfire in El Paso shooting, sister says

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Sunday, August 4, 2019
Mom killed shielding baby from gunfire in El Paso shooting, sister says
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A 25-year-old woman who was shot while apparently shielding her 2-month-old son was among the 20 people killed in El Paso.

EL PASO, Texas -- A 25-year-old woman who was shot while apparently shielding her young son was among the 20 people killed when a gunman opened fire in a crowded El Paso shopping area, her sister said.

RELATED: 20 dead, dozens injured in mass shooting at El Paso Walmart

Leta Jamrowski, 19, of El Paso, learned Saturday afternoon that her sister Jordan Anchondo had been shot to death at Walmart while shopping for back-to-school supplies earlier in the day. Jamrowski spoke to The Associated Press as she paced a waiting room at the University Medical Center of El Paso, where her 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. "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."

Anchondo was the mother of three children.

Jamrowski spent the night desperately awaiting word of whether her brother-in-law, Andre Anchondo, had survived the attack that also wounded more than two dozen.

"They said that if he were alive, more than likely he would have gotten in contact by now," Jamrowski said.

Representative Veronica Escobar said that the mall was at the center of the community, adding that it's where she and her family shop.

"El Paso has historically been a very safe community. We've been safe for decades. We will continue to be safe," Escobar added. "This is someone who came from outside of our community to do us harm. A community that has shown nothing but generosity and kindness to the least among us. Those people arriving at America's front door."

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said three Mexicans were killed in the shooting. He tweeted Saturday that he sends "condolences to the families of the victims, both American and Mexican."

Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said six Mexicans also were wounded in the shooting, including 45-year-old Mario de Alba Montes, 44-year-old Olivia Mariscal Rodríguez and 10-year-old Erika de Alba Mariscal. Ebrard says the man and woman are from Chihuahua. He said the other three wounded Mexicans, whose names weren't given, were two men and a woman from Torreón, in Coahuila state, and Ciudad Juarez.

RELATED: Patrick Crusius identified as El Paso suspected shooter

As for the shooter, who authorities have identified as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, Escobar said "this individual came not from within the community, but outside of it."

"In this country, we have a gun violence epidemic but we also have a hate epidemic," Escobar added. "And until we confront that hate and until we confront the weak gun laws that we have we're going to keep seeing this."

In El Paso, police Chief Greg Allen said authorities are examining a "manifesto," that they believe was written by the shooter and shows a possible "nexus" to a hate crime.

RELATED: Trump, politicians respond to El Paso shootings

Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate and an El Paso native, held a news conference on a street corner opposite the hospital as the sun set, recounting his visit with wounded victims, including a woman who had a bullet pass through her lungs.

"I told them that I am so amazed at how strong they are," the former U.S. congressman said.

Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Center of El Paso, said 13 people were brought to the hospital with injuries, including one who died. Two of the injured were children who were being transferred to El Paso Children's Hospital, he said. Eleven other victims were being treated at Del Sol Medical Center, hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero said. Those victims' ages ranged from 35 to 82, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.