Parents, teachers and students mourn during a memorial service at Horizon High School in El Paso, Texas, for Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, one of 22 people killed in an El Paso shooting Aug. 3. Michael Robinson Chavez/Washington Post

At least 22 people were killed when a gunman opened fire Aug. 3 at a Walmart and shopping center in El Paso, Texas. They were U.S. citizens and Mexican citizens. One was identified by authorities as a German citizen.

Here are stories of some of the victims.

Jordan Anchondo, 25, and Andre Anchondo, 24:

For Jordan and Andre Anchondo of El Paso, that day was meant to be a day of celebration.

The couple had just marked their first wedding anniversary, according to Andre’s older brother, Tito Anchondo. Their oldest daughter was turning 6, Tito Anchondo said, and the couple were ready to show off their new house. Friends and family members were invited to a big party that day, but the Anchondos never made it.

On Aug. 3, after dropping the 6-year-old off at cheerleading practice, the Anchondos headed with their infant son to a Walmart for school supplies and party decorations. There, a gunman opened fire, killing Jordan, according to Tito Anchondo and a report from The Associated Press.

The moment he heard about the shooting, Tito Anchondo began calling his brother and sister-in-law but got no response. Several hours later, he received a call from authorities, who asked him to identify Jordan. He said he rushed to the hospital with the rest of his family to find Jordan, who had died, and his infant nephew, who survived but had several broken bones. Andre was not there.

On Sunday night, family members confirmed to The Washington Post that Andre was killed.

Andre had just started to turn his life around, the brother said. The El Paso native had been in a rut for a few years, but that changed when he met Jordan.

“She was his support system,” Tito said. “When he met Jordan, it gave him more reason to get on track with his life. He got his life in order.”

In 2018, Andre left the family auto-repair business to set up his own shop, Andre House of Granite and Stone. Business for his brother had been good, Tito said.

In his free time, Andre worked to build a house for his young family, laboring under the Texas sun hours at a time to get everything just right.

Jordan was a stay-at-home mother of three, Tito said: The 6-year-old and 1-year-old daughters were from earlier relationships, and she had the 2-month-old with Andre. Jordan’s sister, Leta Jamrowski, told The Associated Press that based on the baby’s injuries, it appeared that Jordan died while trying to shield the baby from the shooter.

“He pretty much lived because she gave her life,” Jamrowski, 19, told the AP.

“We’re angry, we’re sad,” Tito said. “There’s disbelief. There are just no words.”

Arturo Benavides, 60

Arturo Benavides lived for his family, his dog and pineapple upside-down cake.

He was running an errand Saturday with his wife, Patricia Benavides. The El Paso couple were almost out of the Walmart, paying for their groceries at a register, when a gunman opened fire, according to a great-niece.

Someone pushed Patricia Benavides, 63, into a bathroom stall, and she was able to get away unhurt, accompanied by police, said Jacklin Luna, the great-niece. Arturo Benavides, 60, did not escape.

His extended family gathered and waited in agony for hours until hearing official word Sunday morning: Benavides “wasn’t able to make it out,” Luna, 23, said through tears in an interview.

Patricia Benavides is still inconsolable, Luna said, mourning the loss of her soulmate, a man characterized first and foremost by his total and unswerving devotion to family. They had been married more than 30 years.

“If anyone ever needed anything, he was the first one there: If we needed a ride, a shirt or a meal, he was always the first person to offer anything he had,” Luna said. “Whenever we all went out to eat, he would pay the whole bill, he didn’t want anyone to spend a dime.” Every week, Arturo Benavides would phone everyone in the family to see how they were doing, Luna said. He wanted to know: How are your grades in school? How is work, did you get that promotion?

Benavides had retired about two years ago, after working as a bus driver for Sun Metro, El Paso’s public transit agency, Luna said. Before that, she said, he served in the Army, an experience that left him eager to spin military stories for anyone and everyone who would listen.

He loved to regale family members with tales of any kind, Luna said, calling him “a natural storyteller.” Retirement gave him more time to savor and share memories of his childhood. He hadn’t wanted to stop working, but his wife insisted. Luna said Benavides was slowly coming to realize the benefits of leisure time. Luna’s sister had recently given Benavides a dog, a husky mix called Milo, and that helped, Luna said.

“He was starting to enjoy his time just at home, he would sit outside with his oldies music — he loved the ’60s and the ’70s — and his dog, who he just fell in love with,” Luna said. “Something as simple as that would make him happy.”

Benavides would have turned 61 in October, and Luna already knew what she planned to make him. Every year for his birthday, he requested the same thing: a pineapple upside-down cake. The pair had long ago bonded over food. When Luna was growing up, Arturo Benavides used to make her morning waffles on weekends. She cannot quite believe she will never make the man she called “Nino” a pineapple upside-down cake ever again.

Adolfo Cerros Hernández, 68, and Sara Esther Regalado, 66

Sara Esther Regalado and Adolfo Cerros Hernández were a married couple who lived in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The husband, 68, was originally from the Mexican city of Aguascalientes, while the wife, 66, was a native of Juarez.

“With profound pain in our hearts, we inform you that our beloved parents, Adolfo Cerros Hernández and Sarita Regalado, were victims of the tragic shooting” at the Walmart in El Paso, their daughter, Sandra Ivonne Cerros, wrote on Facebook.

“We are devastated, these have been very difficult hours,” she said, asking for privacy for the family as they grieved.

David Johnson, 63

David and Kathy Johnson were best friends, their relatives said.

David worked many hours on weekdays to support his family, said his nephew Dominic Patridge. But on weekends, he made sure to carve out time to spend with his wife.

The couple, with their 9-year-old granddaughter, were in the checkout line at Walmart in El Paso when shooting began Aug. 3. Johnson told his wife and granddaughter to get on the floor, according to relatives. When he was shot, the Army veteran fell toward them to give them cover, said Patridge, 35.

Kathy Johnson and the child escaped, but on Aug. 4 afternoon, the family was notified that David Johnson had died.

“He was a completely selfless, dedicated family man,” Patridge said. “He put everybody before himself.”

The Johnsons were “a perfect match,” the nephew said.

“He always made her feel like she was the most important person in the world,” Patridge said. “You could just tell from the way he looked at her, he was completely in love.”

In the little free time he had, Johnson liked to watch golf tournaments and NASCAR races. Johnson told relatives in recent months that he looked forward to retirement, to finally having more time to spend with his wife.

Maria Eugenia Legarreta

Maria Eugenia Legarreta came from a well-known business family in the northern Mexican city of Chihuahua. She was a full-time homemaker focused on her four children.

“She never stopped smiling. She was a wonderful woman, very dedicated to her children, and a wonderful cook,” said a family friend, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of concern about the family’s privacy.

Legarreta was going to the El Paso airport on Aug. 3 to pick up her youngest child, a 16-year-old girl, who was returning from a trip to Europe.

The mother decided to stop by Walmart on the way to do some quick shopping, according to the friend and news reports. Legarreta will be remembered for being an outstanding parent, said the friend. “Above all, she was a great mother.”

Ivan Filiberto Manzano, 45

Ivan Filiberto Manzano, a native of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was known for his enthusiasm for his business projects, and devotion to his wife and two children, ages 5 and 9.

Manzano, 45, had worked in sales and marketing for years. One day, he approached a colleague at Megaradio, a broadcasting firm in Juarez, about forming their own business.

“We decided to become entrepreneurs and not employees, and we founded Grupo IVER,” a marketing firm, said the colleague, Vianney Rico. They pulled together the idea for the business in an afternoon, “at one desk with two chairs,” she said. Manzano also had a business selling medical equipment.

Manzano had held jobs in Argentina and in Monterrey, Mexico, but eventually returned to his hometown. He was known for hard work.

“It didn’t matter what the hour was, he was always in his office or in the field, taking care of his projects,” said the former colleague at Megaradio, Salvador Jonapa.

But Manzano also was an “exemplary father” to his son and daughter, Jonapa said.

When he wasn’t working or with his family, Manzano enjoyed running, and took part in several marathons in the city, his former colleagues said.

Elsa Mendoza, 57

Elsa Mendoza was a teacher and principal of a primary school who lived and worked in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She was in El Paso on Aug. 3, visiting family, according to local news reports. She had stopped by Walmart to pick up a few things from the supermarket section, leaving her husband and son in the car, according to the Mexican newspaper Milenio.

She never emerged from the store.

Mendoza, 57, was originally from the town of Yepomera, in the northern state of Chihuahua. Her expertise was in special education, but she was principal of a school — the Club de Leones y Rafael Veloz elementary school — with a range of students. She was known for her optimism.

“She always, always had a smile,” said Rosa Maria Hernandez Madero, a colleague who heads the local branch of the national teacher’s union. Mendoza “used to say, ‘Things done with love are done better,’ and she was always ready to help.”

The slain teacher’s husband, Antonio de la Mora, a professor in the biomedical institute at Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez, bade farewell to his wife in an emotional message on social media.

“I say good-bye to my companion, the most wonderful woman, a person full of light who will continue to illuminate our path,” he wrote. The couple lived in Ciudad Juarez with their two adolescent children.

Mexico’s education minister, Esteban Moctezuma, said in a tweet that “the Mexican education community is in mourning the irreparable loss of teacher Elsa Mendoza.”

Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15

Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, was among the youngest killed in El Paso, his uncle Cesar Serrano told The Washington Post.

The Clint Independent School District confirmed his death in a tweet Aug. 5. “We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of our students,” the district said. “Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with his parents and family.”

Javier was weeks away from starting his sophomore year of high school. “He was such a loving boy,” Elvira Rodriguez, his aunt, told The Arizona Republic. She said he loved to play soccer and did well in school.

The Washington Post’s Rebecca Tan, Meagan Flynn, Hannah Natanson, Mary Beth Sheridan, Hailey Fuchs and Gabriela Martinez contributed to this report.

WPBloom

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