Anchondo was holding the newborn as she and her husband, Andre Anchondo, 23, shopped late Saturday morning. A gunman stormed in, opening fire on shoppers while wearing headphones to dull the loud bursts of gunfire from his AK-47-style rifle. Anchondo shielded the baby as she was being shot. Her husband tried to shield both of them, relatives said.
Anchondo and her husband were killed. The baby was grazed by a bullet.
Paul Gilbert — a mass-shooting orphan — had two broken fingers and was being treated by doctors.
His parents were among the 22 victims in one of the deadliest mass shootings in Texas history and one of the latest in a string of attacks that has shaken the nation. The victims were as binational as El Paso, the sister city of Ciudad Juárez in Mexico, part of the daily stream of people who drive and walk across the bridges in border cities to shop.
It was a Saturday at a Walmart at the Texas border, but it could have been a Saturday at a Walmart anywhere in America. At the precise moment the gunman walked in — 10:39 a.m. — shoppers were in the middle of such mundane routines that it obscured the lives of Americans and Mexicans who were anything but.
The youngest was 15. The oldest was 90. Thirteen were U.S. citizens, seven were Mexican nationals, one was German, and one other’s nationality was undetermined. Twelve were men; 10 were women.
Arturo Benavides, 60, an Army veteran, drove a bus for the El Paso public transit system for nearly 20 years before retiring in 2013. He loved talking to family and strangers about both experiences.
“He would tell them about the military or his Army days,” Benavides’ goddaughter, Jacklin Luna, said. “He was super, super giving. Caring.”
Benavides and his wife, Patricia, went to Walmart together Saturday, but at 10:39 a.m., he was in line at the cash register, and she was sitting on a bench by the bathrooms. They had always been more together than apart: He had spent more than half his life with her. When the gunman opened fire, Benavides was killed, but Patricia survived. She had been pushed into a bathroom stall for safety.
Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, had been a Scorpion: He played soccer last year as a freshman for the Horizon High School Scorpions in nearby Horizon City. He no longer attended the school, but he left a strong impression. On Monday night, the Scorpions soccer squad was gathering once more: this time for a vigil for their slain friend Amir.
The gunman, who lived in the Dallas suburb of Allen and had turned 21 one week before the shooting, surrendered to authorities. Before the attack, he posted a four-page anti-immigrant manifesto online railing against “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” and “all the problems these invaders cause and will cause.”
Two days after the shooting, many residents said they condemned the hateful and racist message in the manifesto and mourned a punctured sense of safety the city has long cherished.
But a void had stood in the way for many: It was not until late Monday that El Paso authorities released the names of those who were killed. That stood in sharp contrast to the situation in Dayton, Ohio, where nine people were killed in a mass shooting about 13 hours after the massacre in El Paso. By midday Sunday, authorities there had identified all of the dead, a group of men and women that spanned two generations.
For many of the relatives in El Paso, the anguish of waiting for official confirmation mixed with grief, and outrage, and the pain of holding out hope while still fearing the worst. And so a kind of official and unofficial tally of the dead unfolded. Mexican officials confirmed the identities of some victims, while relatives of others confirmed their deaths in interviews with the news media, through social media posts and statements from their schools.
A series of messages one victim’s relatives had posted on Facebook over the weekend showed the anguish of a family not knowing for a full day what had happened to a loved one — believing at one point that he had been found alive, only to learn that it was a case of mistaken identity.
On Sunday morning, nearly 24 hours after the shooting, the family of David Johnson, 63, was still searching for him. “I previously posted that we had located him, but there was a mix-up and the man in surgery was not him,” wrote his nephew Dominic Patridge.
By Sunday evening, the family knew that the worst had happened. In a message titled “Final Update,” Patridge wrote it had been notified that Johnson had died. His uncle had been shot several times while protecting his aunt and his 9-year-old cousin.
“He smiled with his eyes and always addressed you with a high pitched warm welcome,” Patridge wrote. “I’ll never forget that.”
Since the massacre, the Walmart has mostly remained sealed off, the parking lot still crammed with the cars belonging to those who had been shopping when the gunman stormed the store. He had stopped there because he was hungry, El Paso’s police chief said.
The bodies of the victims remained inside the store until Sunday. The delay in releasing the names came as authorities sought to confirm victims’ identities and inform their families. Medical examiners worked through the weekend, finishing Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
For all of the gunman’s anti-Latino bigotry, the shoppers in the Walmart that morning were diverse. Some of his victims were Hispanic, but others were not. Some were retirees; others, teenagers. Some lived in El Paso; others were just visiting.
And there was the woman everyone called Angie.
Angelina Englisbee, 86, had seven children and a son who died in infancy. Her husband died of a heart attack, leaving her to raise the children on her own. At one point, she was working three jobs at once. “She was a very strong person, very blunt,” said her granddaughter Mia Peake, 16.
Englisbee had been talking on the phone with one of her sons Saturday morning when she said she had to hang up because she was in the checkout line at Walmart. Mia said the family learned Sunday evening that Englisbee was among the victims of the shooting. When the news came, Mia and her mother were in the car, driving to El Paso from their home in New Mexico.
“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,’ ” Mia said, adding, “It feels like hell — it doesn’t feel real.”
On Monday, Edie Hallberg, one of Englisbee’s daughters, pulled up to her house to rest for a moment and take a shower. As soon as she pulled in, her neighbor across the street walked over with containers packed with food.
“Everybody’s helped,” Hallberg said. “El Paso has been there for us. It was the waiting that was so bad.”
First, she had rushed Saturday to the Walmart, where she knew her mother had been when the shooting started. Then, she went to the school that authorities had turned into what they had called a reunification center. She had to wait until Sunday for authorities to confirm what she had already deduced: Her mother was dead.
Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso said in a news conference Monday afternoon that President Donald Trump would visit the city Wednesday. “This is not a political visit,” Margo said. “He is the president of the United States, so in that capacity, I will fulfill my obligation as mayor of El Paso to meet with the president.”
Greg Allen, the El Paso police chief, said 15 patients remained in the hospital, two of whom were in critical condition. Nine people had been discharged, he said.
The El Paso Police Department released this list of names of the dead Monday, although in some cases families and the Mexican consulate provided different spellings:
Andre Pablo Anchondo, 23; Jordan Anchondo, 24; Arturo Benavidez, 60; Leonard Cipeda Campos, 41; Maria Flores, 77; Raul Flores, 77; Jorge Calvillo Garcia, 61; Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, 68; Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66; David Alvah Johnson, 63; Luis Alfonzo Juarez, 90; Maria Eugenia Legarrega Rothe, 58; Elsa Libera Marquez, 57; Maribel Loya 56; Ivan Hilierto Manzano, 46; Gloria Irma Marquez, 61; Margie Reckard, 63; Sarah Esther Regaldo Moriel, 66; Javier Rodriguez, 15; Teresa Sanchez, 82; Angelina Sliva-Elisbee, 86; Juan Velazquez, 77.
In a Facebook post, Elsa Libera Marquez’s husband, Antonio, wrote an emotional farewell to his wife: “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!!!!”
In another Facebook post, Sandra Ivonne Cerros, the daughter of Cerros and Regaldo, confirmed her parents’ deaths. “We are devastated,” she wrote.
The young couple who were killed protecting their son, Andre and Jordan Anchondo, had celebrated their first anniversary a week before the tragedy and had moved into a home painstakingly renovated by Andre. Family members were left shellshocked. They are now picking up the pieces to see how to raise the three children the couple left behind: Skylin, 5; Victoria, 2; and baby Paul Gilbert.
“Their parents simply cannot be replaced,” said Jerry Jamrowski, 33, Jordan’s uncle. “How are we supposed to explain what happened to their three beautiful children?”
Jamrowski said it had been a harrowing experience since Saturday. They found out that day that Jordan had died, but it took another day, until Sunday afternoon, to confirm that Andre was also killed.
“Andre was also heroic,” said Elizabeth Terry, 44, Jordan’s aunt. “He threw his own body in front of his wife to try to save her.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.