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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

A Substitute Teacher In Texas Had Sex With Her Student In Her Parents’ Home

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A Substitute Teacher In Texas Had Sex With Her Student In Her Parents’ Home

Pasadena Texas Police Department

Olivia Huerta, 23, was arraigned Thursday on second-degree felony charges of an improper relationship with a student and sexual assault of a child between the ages of 14 and 16. She’s being held on a bond of $40,000.

The assault happened sometime between January and April of 2018 when Huerta was substituting for a social science teacher at Pasadena Independent School District’s Sam Rayburn High School. A year later, the then 16-year-old victim told his friend what happened, and the friend told school administrators, who called the police, according to the report by KPRC.

The unnamed victim told police that the two were talking via Snapchat.

Credit: Pasadena Texas Police Department

Police reports show that the student alleged that the two had exchanged phone numbers. They texted and had conversations through Snapchat. Later, when police were questioning Huerta, they say she confessed to the crime. She also voluntarily gave her phone to police to show the text conversations between the two. Police say the conversations allude to the inappropriate relationship.

The student couldn’t remember the teacher’s name and described her to police as a short, curvy Latina. After showing him several photos of Latina substitute teachers employed by the school district at the time of the incident, he identified Huerta. She was arrested after admitting to the relationship.

They had sex at Huerta’s parents’ house.

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The victim told police that Huerta and he walked from school to her parents’ house, where they had sex. It was a one-night-stand that left the student a victim of sexual assault and pedophilia.

When the allegation came to light, the school district immediately removed Huerta from campus.

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In a statement made to KPRC2, school district officials made it clear that anyone accused of sexual assault is not welcome on school campuses. “Upon receiving the allegation, the administration at Sam Rayburn High School immediately notified district administration and the Pasadena ISD Police Department. The accused individual was promptly removed from campus and is no longer employed by Pasadena ISD.”

The story and its implications are being lost on some people who are reading about it.

Credit: Frank Huerta / Facebook

In a Facebook comment under the story, AJ Hernandez asked (edited for grammar), “So my question: Why don’t they blast the student as well? After all, didn’t the student go along with it? I blame the kid as much as well.” Many people in the comments seem to think that Huerta “looks like a child as well,” and that the age difference isn’t “so bad.” One Laura Montaño agreed with Hernandez, commenting, “They just act like the victims so they won’t be held accountable for their actions! How is it that teenagers are able to go to jail for murder but are victims when it comes to sex???? Makes no sense! Yeah, adults should know better but she looks like a child to me as well!”

Someone named Maestro Salchicha responded defending the child from the online fury saying, “Because kids are kids and ultimately victims of these adults who know better.”

The legal age of consent in Texas is 17 years old.

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The legal age of consent across the United States varies from 16 years old to 18 years old. There are also “close in age” laws, that allow for a minor to consent to sex with an adult who is closer in age. In Texas, the age of consent is 17 years old, and the close-in-age law provides an age exemption if the person is no more than 3 years older than the minor.

In case you missed it, consent isn’t always consent if the person says “yes.”

Credit: Iris Rodriguez / Facebook

In certain power dynamics, consent isn’t always able to be given freely. Employers sleeping with their employees are frowned upon because of the financial pressure for the subordinate to ‘consent.’ Other forces besides a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are at play. The individuals must be weighted equals in the power dynamic.

In 2003, Representative Helen Giddings (D), introduced a bill that bans sex between students and teachers within the same school district. This all means that Huerta’s victim was not legally able to give his consent, given his age, and a victim of the student-teacher ban.

If you have any information about the case, you can call the Pasadena ISD Police Department at 713-740-0200.

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Men are flooding the comments with, “Where these teachers when I was a teenager attending class?” One woman mocked the onslaught of jokes with a comment, “Derp “wEaR wErr dEEz TeeCheRs WiN eYe WuZ N sKoOl” Someone else commented, “All the men in these comments disgust me.” A child was raped by a teacher in Pasadena, Texas last year. That’s never okay.

READ: One San Francisco Man Used The New Snapchat Filters To Nag A Police Officer For Attempting To Sleep With A Minor

Texas Man Convicted For Beheading His Sleeping Roommate And Killing Roommate’s Girlfriend

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Texas Man Convicted For Beheading His Sleeping Roommate And Killing Roommate’s Girlfriend

@deannaboyd / Twitter

After spending more than five hours deliberating on the verdict, a Texas jury has found Hector “El Cholo” Acosta-Ojeda guilty of capital murder for the killings of Erick ‘Diablo’ Zelaya, 26, and Iris Chirinos, 17. Prosecutors said Acosta-Ojeda shot his roommate, Zelaya, twice in the head while he slept. He then used a machete to behead Zelaya and left his severed head on a trail near Arlington, Texas’s AT&T Stadium. Zelaya’s girlfriend, Chirinos tried to flee the scene of the gruesome murder, but Acosta-Ojeda fatally shot her. 

Acosta-Ojeda, 30, pleaded not guilty to the crime and did not take the stand.

Credit: @deannaboyd / Twitter

In closing arguments, Acosta-Ojeda’s defense attorneys, Bill Ray and Gary Smart, told the jury that no weapon was linked to Acosta-Ojeda. They argued that the presence of so many other people in the house leaves room for reasonable doubt. They also argued that authorities did not offer a proper reading of Acosta-Ojeda’s Miranda rights, which tell a person under arrest that they have the “right to remain silent” and that, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” By that waive of rights, any confession Acosta-Ojeda made was nullified. 

Still, The Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney (ADA), Kevin Rousseau, argued, “He confessed to every single aspect of this case,” according to the Star-Telegram.

Prosecutors argued that the motive was linked to another shooting, which occurred in May 2017.

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In a series of strange events, Acosta-Ojeda’s home was targeted by gunmen while he and others were sleeping. Moments later, Zelaya and young Chirinos arrived, laughing. The very next day, someone burned down Acosta-Ojeda’s home. ADA Rousseau learned that Zelaya had confessed to being a part of the shooting just hours before Acosta-Ojeda executed him in his sleep.

After Acosta-Ojeda killed the couple, he buried them in a shallow grave in the backyard, but not before he beheaded Zelaya with a machete. He put the head in a trash bag, made a sign, and rode his bicycle, with a severed head in hand, to what was left of his home. There, he left his friend’s severed head along with a sign that read, “La Raza Se Resreta y Faltan 4,” which roughly means, ‘the race, or group, must be respected and only four remain.”

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, which will be determined in a sentencing hearing Wednesday.

Credit: Iris Gomez / Facebook

While her family has yet to speak out about the incident, friends have posted to her Facebook page, saying “God rest your soul. Prayers to your family.. god sees your true beauty, he will judge the criminal that did this to you… RIP.” Folks continue to post to her page, years later, with thoughts like, “I miss you babygirl. RIP,” and “Missing you like crazy, love you lil sis.”

If the jury doesn’t reach a unanimous decision on capital punishment, Acosta-Ojeda will receive mandatory minimum sentencing of life imprisonment without parole.

Members of the alt-right have tried to use the story to further anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Credit: @TEEITHIGH / Twitter

“Look at the face of the people crossing our border every day to seek that better life. Why behead in Mexico when you can behead in America?” tweets Clayton Freeman. “Democrats want people like this in America!
SIC,” tweeted another woman. A Facebook post sharing the news on the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office page had just one comment: “Hang him!”

Acosta-Ojeda is implicated in another murder case that opened just one month after he killed Zelaya and Chirinos. 

Credit: Triston Algiene / Facebook

Acosta-Ojeda is accused of robbing and murdering 34-year-old Triston Ray Algiene. In October 2017, Algiene’s mutilated body was found, cut in half, and buried in concrete in the foundation of a vacant home. Another man, Felipe Eduardo Ortiz, is also accused in the murder. The two had been renting rooms in the house they chose to bury the body under. Authorities suspect that Ortiz and Acosta-Ojeda had set up the meeting with Algiene to appear as a drug deal, but planned to rob and murder him. According to a report last year, Algiene was then tied with duct tape and rope and beaten into giving the PIN number to his debit card. Now-deceased Zelaya and Chirinos allegedly were tasked with withdrawing money from the ATM. They called Acosta-Ojeda, who allegedly got angry and killed Algiene. They dug a hole in the bedroom, sawed Algiene’s body in half, and covered it up. By the time investigators arrived, the house had been remodeled and up for sale. 

READ: The Murder of a Teen Mom By Her Boyfriend is Raising a Discussion Around the Prevalence of Femicide in Abusive Relationships