Jordan Anchondo, of El Paso, was 25 years old. The stay-at-home mom of three just celebrated her wedding anniversary with husband Andre Anchondo. Her youngest child just two years old, her oldest about to turn six.
Jordan and Andre were ready to show off their new home, and there was a big party for family and friends on Saturday, August 3rd. But the couple never made it.
Instead, while back-to-school shopping on a Saturday afternoon in Texas, Jordan died. She was killed, murdered, in a Walmart, shot in cold blood as she shielded the infant in her arms.
That child lived, thanks to that bravery, but was injured by the weight of his own mother’s body as she fell the floor of a retail store shopping aisle. The 2-year-old has broken bones, which may heal, but will forever know how they were broken, what weight it was that fell upon small fingers and toes.
Jordan’s husband Andre was still unaccounted for on Sunday. Just 20 minutes before this story was published, it was confirmed that he, too, was killed.
In tragedy, in terror, we often find heroes. Some are, as Mister Rogers called them, the helpers, trying to rescue, assist, give aid. Others have only an instant, a split second to react, to put others before themselves, and in that flash of time they’re gone. It creates a strange reaction in us all, to admire them and be uplifted by their courage and virtue, while still engulfed in the horror, the grief, the anger and outrage of the event itself.
That’s just another way that heroes are so important when something terrible happens. Their sacrifices do not just live in that moment of death, but they carry hope out after it’s over. So that even while we reel from the impact of the evil of man, we are still reminded of the good still there, still all around us.
A young wife and mother held her child close, shielding her with her own body, to her last breath. It is outrageous that this happened, it is evil that she is gone, and her murderer is too unspeakably vile to utter his name. But we should say hers. We should remember Jordan Anchondo.
Family, marriage, children, school supplies, a new home — these were two young Americans living that American life that is at the core of the values we speak about every day in politics. Jordan and Andre were living them.
The things that the murderer valued and believed in? That’s what killed 20 people at a Walmart. On a Saturday afternoon. In the state of Texas, in the United States of America.