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Students, Retirees, Selfless Heroes: Here's What We Know About The 22 Victims Who Lost Their Lives In El Paso
Among the people tragically gunned down at a Walmart are devoted grandparents, mothers, fathers, and a high school soccer player.
They were mothers, fathers, grandfathers, retirees, devoted husbands and selfless heroes. At 15, the youngest’s life had just begun.
But the lives of all 22 were tragically cut short after a massacre Saturday at an El Paso Walmart.
Police released the names of all the victims who died in the rampage Monday. There was the recent retiree who loved his dog and pineapple upside-down cake; a mother who had been on the way to pick up her teen daughter at the airport; and a young couple who had just celebrated their anniversary and died protecting their young baby.
For many it had been a typical Saturday—filled with trips to the dog groomer, soccer team fundraisers, a quick stop for groceries or back-to-school shopping. But that all changed in an instant when a shooter opened fire.
Here’s what we know about those who lost their lives:
David Johnson, 63
David Johnson, 63, had been shopping with his wife Kathy and 9-year-old granddaughter Kaitlyn when the gunfire broke out just as the trio had reached the store’s checkout line.
The Army veteran told his wife and granddaughter to get down on the floor, then fell toward them after he’d been shot to shield them from the violence, according to The Washington Post.
“He was a completely selfless, dedicated family man,” his nephew Dominic Patridge said. “He put everybody before himself.”
Johnson often worked long hours during the week providing for his family, but had just begun to start talking about retirement.
The couple, who family members say were a “perfect match,” had been at the store to get a few groceries and pick out a present for Kaitlyn.
“He was surrounded by three gun shells,” his niece Maria Madera said on social media, according to local station KTSM. “That could have been one for him, my aunt, and my niece. He protected them from that murderer. And worked as a shield. If he hadn’t have been there they wouldn’t have made it.”
Jordan Anchondo, 25, and Andre Anchondo, 24
Jordan and Andre Anchondo had been planning for a birthday party and their oldest daughter’s first day of school when they died shielding their 2-month-old baby from the gunfire.
The couple had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary and was looking forward to celebrating their oldest daughter’s 6th birthday with family, Andre’s brother Tito Anchondo told The Post.
They dropped their 5-year-old daughter off at cheer camp and then stopped at the store to pick up supplies for the upcoming party and the start of school.
Jordan’s aunt Elizabeth Terry told CNN that when the shots broke out, Jordan shielded her baby. Andre jumped in front of his wife. Both parents would die saving the infant, who only suffered broken fingers.
“The baby still had her blood on him. You watch these things and see these things and you never think this is going to happen to your family,” Terry said.
Before his death, Tito said Andre had been getting his life together. He started his own business, Andre House of Granite and Stone, in 2018 and spent his free time building a house for his growing family. Tito credited his wife Jordan with inspiring the young father’s accomplishments.
“She was his support system,” he said. “When he met Jordan, it gave him more reason to get on track with his life. He got his life in order.”
Sara Esther Regalado, 66, and Adolfo Cerros Hernández, 68
Sara Esther Regaldo, 66, and her husband Adolfo Cerros Hernández, 68, lived in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the border and were shopping when tragedy struck. Their daughter, Sandra Ivonne Cerros, confirmed their deaths on Facebook.
“With profound pain in our hearts, we inform you that our beloved parents, Adolfo Cerros Hernández and Sarita Regaldo, were victims of the tragic shooting,” she wrote, according to The Post.
“We are devastated, these have been difficult hours,” she said, before asking for privacy for the family.
Hernández had been a native of Aguascalientes, while his wife grew up in Juarez.
Angie Englisbee, 86
Angie Englisbee, 86, had been standing in the checkout line on the phone with her son just moments before the fatal shots rang out, according to KTRK. The pair ended the call at 10:35 a.m. They’d never speak again.
“I hope that maybe someone next to her held her hand, so she wasn’t afraid,” Englisbee’s niece, Karla, told local station KVIA of her death.
Englisbee’s granddaughter Mia Peake told The New York Times her family learned of the matriarch’s death Sunday night as she and her mother were in the car driving to El Paso.
“My mom could not stop crying, and I remember thinking, I can’t cry until we get there. I can’t cry until we stop,” she said.
The devoted Dallas Cowboys fan grew up in Santa Fe before getting married and moving to El Paso. Her granddaughter said she had eight children, one of whom died as an infant.
“She was a very strong person, very blunt,” she said, describing the family’s anguish as feeling “like hell.”
Arturo Benavides, 60
Arturo Benavides, 60, a recent retiree who loved pineapple upside-down cake, had been shopping with his wife on Saturday morning.
He had been paying for groceries at the register when the shots rang out. Someone pushed his wife Patricia Benavides, 63, into the bathroom—saving her life. The grieving widow is now inconsolable after losing her soul mate, her family told The Post.
Benavides has been described as a dedicated family man.
“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,” his great-niece Jacklin Luna said. “Whenever we all went out to eat, he would pay the whole bill, he didn’t want anyone to spend a dime.”
He had worked as a bus driver for El Paso’s public transit system, Sun Metro, for two decades before he retired. He had just begun settling into his new life—often spending his time with his new dog, a husky mix named Milo.
“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.”
The “natural storyteller” also loved to share stories with his family about his early days in the Army.
“He was super-super giving, caring,” Luna told The New York Times.
Elsa Mendoza Marques, 57
Elsa Mendoza Marques was a school teacher and principal in Ciudad Juárez. The 57-year-old had been in El Paso visiting family and had just run into the retail chain Saturday morning to grab a few groceries, leaving her husband and son behind in the parked car, when the shots rang out.
“She always, always had a smile,” her colleague Rosa Maria Hernandez Madero said, according to The Post.
Madero, who is charge of a local branch of a teacher’s union, said the educator used to like to say “Things done with love are done better.”
Her husband, Antonio de la Mora, posted an emotional tribute to his wife on social media.
“I say goodbye to my partner, the most wonderful of women, a being full of life who will continue to light our path for the time that life gives us…we will miss you love.!!!!,” he wrote on Facebook.
Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15
Javier Amir Rodriguez was the youngest victim at just 15 years old and was about to begin his 10th grade year at Horizon High School in El Paso.
The Clint Independent School District confirmed the young student’s death Monday morning in a statement posted to social media.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of our students, Javier Amir Rodriquez, who formerly attended Horizon HS. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with his parents and family,” they wrote.
Students and family members remembered his short life Monday at a vigil held at the school’s football field.
His coach spoke at the vigil describing Rodriguez as a passionate soccer player who was close with his teammates.
"I was asked today what message would he say to us, what message would he want us to send. I would say, 'Do your best, stay focused, hone your craft in soccer.' See, soccer was life for Javier," his coach said, according to CNN.
Leo Cimpeda Campos, 41, and Maribel Hernandez, 56
Leo Cimpeda Campos, 41, and his wife Maribel Hernandez, 56, were having a typical Saturday morning. The pair had dropped their dog off at a groomer and then headed to Walmart to go shopping, but when the couple never returned to retrieve the dog, their family grew concerned, according to local station KFOX.
One of their family members was able to track the couple’s car to the Walmart parking lot, using GPS. Authorities notified the family that the couple had perished Sunday.
Campos' former high school classmates remember as a great dancer and talented athlete.
“This is a devastating time for our state and nation, and our P.S.J.A. Family, especially our Bears,” school board president Jesse Zambrano said in statement obtained by The Times. “Leo was a great athlete during his time at Bears, the goalie for the soccer team and the kicker for the football team. He was well liked and a role model to athletes like me that looked up to him.”
Friend and classmate Asael Alanis described him as a man with a great sense of humor.
“He was just a great human being,” he said.
Maria Eugenia Legarreta, 58
Maria Eugenia Legarreta was on the way to pick up her 16-year-old daughter from the airport, when she stopped at the Walmart Saturday morning.
Legarreta was part of a well-known business family in the Mexican city of Chihuahua, but those who knew her said her focus had been as a full-time mother to her four children.
“She never stopped smiling. She was a wonderful woman, very dedicated to her children, and a wonderful cook,” one friend told The Post.
Gloria Irma Márquez, 61
Gloria Irma Márquez was a Mexican national who lived in Juarez. Those who knew her remember her as a “dedicated mother, grandmother and friend,” CNN reports.
Jorge Calvillo García, 61
Jorge Calvillo García had driven to El Paso from his hometown of Torreón to visit his son Luis and his granddaughter, Emily. The trio had been helping to raise money for Emily’s soccer team at a fundraiser outside of the Walmart when the gunman began to fire.
Raul Ortega, Jorge’s nephew, said the 61-year-old was killed while trying to shield the young girls on the soccer team, KFOX reports. Jorge’s son Luis, who was a coach for the team, was also struck and is listed in critical condition at the hospital.
Margie Reckard, 63
Margie Reckard was a mother of three. The 63-year-old was born in Baltimore, Maryland and had moved to the El Paso area about three years ago, her son Dean Reckard told KTSM. She had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease.
Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez, 77
Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez, 77, grew up in the Mexican state of Zacatecas before immigrating the United States, where he later became a U.S. citizen. His son told The New York Times that Velázquez lived for 30 years in Denver before moving to El Paso to find a more peaceful life.
“He fought to get ahead in the United States,” his son, Cruz Velázquez said.
Cruz Velázquez drove more than 400 miles Saturday night after learning his father may have been a victim of the shooting. He was able to find his father at an area hospital, but his injuries were too severe and the 77-year-old later died.
His wife, Nicolasa Estela Velázquez, was also reportedly shot in the stomach, but is expected to survive, KTSM reports.
The couple had just pulled into the parking lot when the gunfire erupted.
Luis Alfonso Juarez, 90
Luis Alfonso Juarez, 90, had been shopping for groceries with his bride of 70 years when he was shot and killed Saturday. His wife was also shot in the rampage.
His family has described the 90-year-old as an amazing human being, who was calm and big-hearted, KTSM reports.
Ivan Filiberto Manzano, 45
Ivan Filiberto Manzano, 45, was an “exemplary father” with a keen sense for business, according to former colleague Salvador Jonapa.
After years of working in sales and marketing Manzano—a native of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico—and a colleague decided to start their own business.
“We decided to become entrepreneurs and not employees, and we founded Grupo IVER,” Vianney Rico told The Post.
The business was hatched one afternoon while the pair sat “at one desk with two chairs.”
Manzano, who also had a medical equipment company, had been devoted to his wife and two young children, ages 5 and 9.
Other victims include: Teresa Sanchez, 82; Maria Flores, 82; Raul Flores, 77; and Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66.