Things That Matter

While El Paso Was A Devastating Moment In U.S. History, These People Stood Up To Save Anyone They Could

The El Paso mass shooting has wrecked the El Paso and Latino-American community at large. It feels impossible to comprehend so much hate for our culture, our people. Yet, in the face of deadly hate, a few people put their lives on the line to protect friends, family, and strangers. Most of these people risked their lives to save others. Many of them sacrificed their lives. All of them are heroes who deserve to be honored in life and in death. Here are some of the biggest heroes from the El Paso shooting that deserve the media attention.

1. Jordan Anchondo gave her life using her body as a shield from her 2-month old baby, Paul. Only the baby survived.

Credit: @KateBieri / Twitter

Jordan and Andre Anchondo had celebrated their one year wedding anniversary three days before they went to Walmart to buy school supplies for their five-year-old daughter. Experts believe that  Jordan used her body as a shield to protect her baby, Paul. Paul was grazed by a bullet but survived. Only his two fingers were broken, likely from the fall of his mother’s body on top of him. Jordan died in the ultimate sacrifice for her child.

2. A witness said they saw Andre Anchondo, RIP, try to grab the gun from the shooter.

Credit: Jordan Jamrowski / Facebook

While his wife was shielding their two-month-old baby, Andre was seen lunging at the shooter in an obvious attempt to stop him. His bravery may have cost him his life, but we’ll never know how many lives were saved by those few moments the shooter was distracted.

3. Jorge Calvillo García died shielding his granddaughter, Emily, from bullets.

Credit: @RobertKFOX14 / Twitter

Jorge’s nephew, Raul Ortega, told KFOX14 that Jorge and Emily were raising funds for a soccer team that Jorge coaches outside of the Walmart. According to Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, Jorge was visiting his son Luis Calvillo (also pictured), who was also shot and injured and is from Torreón, Mexico.

4. Off-duty Army soldier Glendon Oakley saw children running without their parents and grabbed as many kids as he could and ran out of the store.

Credit: @crapitsheckboy / Twitter

Apparently, Oakley was in the Foot Locker next door to Walmart when a kid ran in and told everyone there was a shooter. At first, he didn’t believe him, but after hearing gunshots, he left the safety of the Foot Locker to see how he could help. He saw kids running around without their parents and ran into the Walmart to carry as many kids as he could out to safety.

5. David Johnson, 63, died while shielding his wife and 9-year-old granddaughter inside the Walmart.

Credit: @AC360 / Twitter

His daughter, Krystal Alvord, started a GoFundMe for the funeral costs. She commemorates his heroism in the post saying, “my amazing father pushed my niece and mother out of the way of fire, taking the possible bullets meant for them. He was the best husband, father, grandfather, and friend.”

6. Chris Grant, 50, threw bottles at the gunman to distract him. That’s when the gunman started shooting at him.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Grant told CNN, “I heard gunshots and I knew what it was so I ran towards my mother to try to shield her. I saw him popping people off. To deter him, I just started throwing bottles at him,” he told CNN from his hospital bed. “One went right towards him and that’s when he saw me. I ducked, and he just boop-boop-boop-boop started firing off rounds at me. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this guy is shooting at me.” 

Grant was shot twice near his rib cage, but he says those aren’t the injuries that hurt most. He told CNN the part that hurts most is remembering the gunman slaughtering people as they prayed in Spanish. Grant distracted the gunmen and somehow survived a hail of bullets.

7. Walmart employee Gilbert Serna helped at least 150 people escape through an emergency exit.

Credit: @BuzzfeedNews / Twitter

Serna had been working at the Cielo Vista Walmart for almost 19 years when he heard a panicked voice on his radio say, “Code brown, run quick.” Serna yelled, “Follow me!” and led about 100 customers and employees out a fire exit and had them get into four shipping containers. Instead of getting inside himself, he ran out the side of the building to the parking lot and led the girl’s soccer team that was outside fundraising and another 50 or 60 people into the nearby Sam’s Club.

8. Eleven-year-old, Ruben Martinez, came up with the #ElPasoCHALLENGE, meant to uplift his community.

Credit: @rgandarilla99 / Twitter

It’s no secret. We’re all feeling fear like we’ve never felt before. It’s all too easy to fall into a depression spiral. After the shooting, Ruben went to his room to brainstorm a way to lift up his community. He came up with the #ElPasoChallenge, which challenges every El Pasoan to perform 20 acts of kindness in honor of each of the then-20 victims of terrorism. This is how we don’t let the terrorists win.

READ: Here’s How One 11-Year-Old El Paso Resident Is Trying to Bring Some Positive Light After A Horrible Mass Shooting

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Former Texas State Senate Candidate Says She Was ‘Tortured’ in a Hotel Room After a Violent Ambush

Things That Matter

Former Texas State Senate Candidate Says She Was ‘Tortured’ in a Hotel Room After a Violent Ambush

Photo: Vanessa Tijerina/Facebook

Texas police are currently trying to get to the bottom of a disturbing incident that happened in Raymondville on Monday.

Former Republican candidate for Texas state Senate, Vanessa Tijerina, posted a shocking 10-minute Facebook Live video detailing the brutal assault she experienced in a nearby hotel on Monday.

Tijerina appeared in the video with her face looking unrecognizable. She had two black eyes–both of which were swollen almost completely shut.

Her face was covered in bruises. Her speech was impaired from how much swelling she was experiencing. It looked–to be blunt–like she had been beaten to a pulp.

Through tears, Tijerina explained to her followers that she was lured to a hotel room by some unnamed assailants who led her to believe they had “something really really really important” to tell her that they couldn’t tell her over the phone.

But once she was alone in the hotel room, the assailants “gagged, bound [and] tortured” her.

“I was beaten. I was terrorized, bound, gagged, tortured,” she said in the Facebook Live video.

“I never fought back because I knew that if I fought back, it would’ve been worse and I probably wasn’t going to survive. And I needed to survive for my daughters.”

Although a motive for the assault hasn’t yet been established, Tijerina is a relatively high-profile figure in Texas’s Raymondville community. She is active on social media and regularly goes on Facebook live to engage with her followers and supporters. And with her high profile comes a litany of critics and haters who have created troll accounts with the express purpose of smearing her.

Despite all this, Tijerina refutes the rumors that she “did something” to motivate the beating.

“There was nothing that I did that made this okay for this to happen to me,” she said. Tijerina began to get increasingly more emotional as she talked about her children and the fact that she was not able to give her children the toys she bought them for Christmas.

So far, Raymondville police have arrested three suspects in connection to the assault: Amanda Salinas, Ariel Jamie Vela and Ramon Donato Santana Jr. As for who was on the phone giving orders at the time of the assault, police are still looking for answers.

As of this writing, the police have not yet publicly revealed a motive. But since her attack, Tijerina has again taken to her Facebook page to assert that the assault was “100% motivated by hate.”

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4-Year-Old is Rescued By First Responders After Being Trapped in a Well For 6 Hours; ‘It’s a Christmas Miracle’

Things That Matter

4-Year-Old is Rescued By First Responders After Being Trapped in a Well For 6 Hours; ‘It’s a Christmas Miracle’

Photo courtesy of City of Mission, TX

On December 8th, a 4-year-old boy in Garceño, Texas was rescued from an 8-inch wide well after accidentally falling into it. According to the authorities in Mission, Texas, the boy was rescued by first responders who worked tirelessly over a six hour period to dig the boy out.

According to reports, the authorities responded to an emergency call at 4:40 p.m that explained that the 4-year-old had fallen down a well at a ranch property in Garceño.

The stunning rescue was captured on video for the world to see.

“So proud of our Mission firefighters & all 1st responders that rescued the child after 6 long hrs,” the City of Mission wrote on Twitter. “Pit was only 8-10 inches in diameter. It’s a Christmas miracle!”

The video shows the final moments of the rescue. Onlookers applauded as first responders lifted the boy out of the hole.

Authorities reported that the boy was flown to hospital to undergo testing after his harrowing ordeal. He is reportedly in stable condition.

The day after the boy’s rescue, Sheriff Rene “Orta” Fuentes took to Facebook to express his gratitude to the Starr County community, naming every first responder who had a hand in rescuing the unnamed boy.

“Last night proved to be a testament of our community and neighboring communities’ unity and sincere concern for each other,” wrote Sheriff Fuentes. “Through prayers and actions from everyone involved a little boy lives today.”

The city of Mission also tweeted out videos and photos, calling the rescue a “Christmas Miracle”.

According to Robert Alvarez, the assistant fire chief of the town’s Fire Department, a crew trained in “trench rescues” was sent to the scene.

According to local authorities, the rescue team dug a hole in the ground parallel to where the boy was trapped. When the second hole was deep enough, the team chiseled away at the ground until they were able to break through the wall of where the boy was trapped.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Alvarez says that the child’s welfare was of the utmost priority. “The biggest thing that we were trying to make sure was that the operation was done safely,” he told USA Today.

This is a happy ending to an ordeal that could have ended in tragedy. We’re happy that this little boy and his family are able to celebrate the holidays together, safe and sound.

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