Things That Matter

As El Paso Grieves Their Loss, Here Is Everything We Know About The Victims Of The El Paso Massacre, Which Were Mostly Latino

Much of the nation was grief stricken over this weekend’s double terror attacks. On Saturday, El Paso and it’s large Latino community was racked by gun violence as an alleged White Nationalist opened fire on a Walmart upset about the “invasion” of Hispanics.

News about those killed and injured traveled quickly. So far it’s been confirmed that 22 people have been killed and dozens more were injured, some of them are still in critical condition.

Among the victims are 13 Mexican citizens (including the injured and dead), for whom the Mexican government is now vowing to take legal action against the US and the gunman.

Here’s everything we know about the victims so far:

Jordan and Andre Anchondo

This recently married couple, 25 and 24 respectively, had just celebrated their 1-year wedding anniversary and their eldest daughter was soon turning six. The couple had gone to Walmart to buy school supplies and clothes for their kids but their lives were violently cut short.

The moment he heard about the shooting, Tito Anchondo, Andre’s brother, began calling both his brother and sister-in-law but got no response. Several hours later, he received a call from authorities, who asked him to identify Jordan. He said he rushed to the hospital with the rest of his family to find Jordan, who had died, and his infant nephew, who survived but had several broken bones. Andre was not there.

On Sunday night, family members confirmed to The Post that Andre was killed too.

A 25-year-old woman and mother of three, Jordan Anchondo was killed while trying to shield her 2-month-old son, according to the AP.

“From the baby’s injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him,” Jamrowski told AP. “So when she got shot she was holding him and she fell on him, so that’s why he broke some of his bones. So he pretty much lived because she gave her life.”

Arturo Benavides

Arturo and his wife Patricia were nearly out of the Walmart when the gunmen opened fire. Patricia’s life was saved when someone pushed her into a bathroom stall, however, Arturo didn’t make it out alive.

The 60-year-old was a US Army veteran and had recently retired from working as a bus driver for El Paso’s public transit agency. The couple had been married for more than 30 years.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Jacklin Luna, Arturo’s great-niece, said: “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. Whenever we all went out to eat, he would pay the whole bill, he didn’t want anyone to spend a dime.”

Javier Rodriguez

At just 15-years-old, Javier was among the youngest victims from Saturday’s attack.

The Clint Independent School District confirmed his death in a tweet Monday. “We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of our students,” the district said. “Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with his parents and family.”

Javier was just weeks away from starting his sophomore year of high school. “He was such a loving boy,” Elvira Rodriguez, his aunt, told the Arizona Republic. She said he loved to play soccer and did well in school.

Elsa Mendoza Marquez

Elsa Mendoza Marquez, a Mexican schoolteacher who was married and the mother of two adult children, was another of the victims.

According to family members, she crossed the border on Saturday and entered Walmart while family members waited outside the store. Her husband, Antonio de la Mora, called her “full of light” and “the most wonderful of women” in a tribute post on Facebook.

Sara Esther Regalado

Sara Esther Regalado was named by the Mexican foreign ministry as a victim.

Her granddaughter Vielka Yu shared images on social media of her and Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, Ms Regalado’s husband. While searching for news, Ms Yu wrote: “My grandparents were shopping at Walmart and Cielo Vista when the shooting happened.”

Adolfo Cerros Hernandez

In another death confirmed by the Mexican Foreign Ministry, it’s reported that the husband of Sara Esther Regalado also died in the attack.

Their daughter Sandra Cerros wrote: “With deep pain in our hearts, let us inform you that our dear parents Adolfo Hills Hernandez and Sarita Regalado died victims of the unfortunate shooting happened yesterday August 3 at Wal-Mart.

“We are devastated. These have been very difficult hours. But now we are united. We thank you infinitely for your prayers, your support, concern, calls and messages.”

Leo Campos

A statement posted online read: “One of PSJAs Alumni life was taken by yesterday’s tragedy in El Paso. We would like to express our sincere condolences for his family during this difficult time. Rest In Peace Leo Campos.”

His former school also paid tribute, with school board president Jesse Zambrano saying: “Leo Campos was a great athlete and friend to many during his time at PSJA High. He was a goalie for the soccer team and a kicker for the football team.

“Leo was well liked and a role model to many athletes that looked up to him, including me. We ask for the entire PSJA community to join us in prayer. Rest in peace, hermano.”

Angie Englisbee

Angie Englisbee was described by her grandson Jacob Hallberg as “the hero of our family.”

Hallberg told BuzzFeed News that after his grandfather died of a heart attack at age 38, Englisbee had to find a job and take care of their seven kids alone. He said she “raised seven successful great children on her own,” including his mother, Edie Hallberg.

Maribel Hernandez

The partner of Leo Campos, Maribel Hernandez was killed as the pair shopped, having dropped their dog off at the groomers.

Her brother, Al Hernandez, confirmed her death as well as Mr Campos’s. He said he knew something was wrong when he received a call from the groomers when they had not collected their dog.

Jorge Calvillo García

Jorge Calvillo García died shielding his granddaughter Emily from bullets, Jorge’s nephew, Raul Ortega, told KFOX14. Calvillo and Emily were raising funds for a soccer team that Calvillo coaches outside of the Walmart.

García was visiting his son Luis Calvillo, who was also shot and injured, and is from Torreón, Mexico, according to Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

Gloria Irma Marquez

Gloria’s death was confirmed by the Mexican consulate. She was one of the many victims who was in El Paso shopping from across the border in Ciudad Juárez.

Stay tuned as we update this list with additional information about the victims, their friends, and family as it becomes available.

If you would like to help the victims of this weekend’s deadly terror attacks, including the one directly targeting Latino victims in El Paso, please consider making a donation to Paso del Norte Community Foundation here. And if you’re in the El Paso area, please consider donating much-needed blood – Lyft will even give you a free roundtrip ride for the donation.

READ: El Paso Needs Blood Donors After Another White Mass Shooter Kills 19 Walmart Shoppers

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More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Things That Matter

More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Photo via bella_joy_gardens/Instagram

On June 10th, 2020, a senseless crime was committed. 21-year-old Isabella Thallas was shot and killed while she was out walking her dog with her boyfriend, 26-year-old Darian Simon. Simon, who was shot as well, survived.

Almost immediately after Thallas lost her life, the police were informed of the murderer: 36-year-old Michael Close, who lived in the same building as the couple.

Michael Close had shot the couple from his window with an AK-47. Thallas died almost instantly.

Close was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and possession of a high-capacity magazine during a crime.

But questions piled up as to why Close committed this crime in the first place. Why did he target the couple? Was the murder pre-meditated? How did this unstable man get his hands on an AK-47?

As the police put the pieces together, the motive was shocking. According to Close, he shot and killed Thallas because her dog defecated in the alley behind his unit.

The story he gave police lined up with Darian Simon’s version of events as well. Simon says that he and Thallas were walking their dog together behind their building. Simon commanded the dog to “poop” when he heard Close yelling at him from the window above them.

“Are you going to train that f—ing dog or just yell at it?” Close allegedly yelled out the window at them. When Simon bent down to pick up the dog’s feces, that’s when Close open-fired out the window. Simon was able to run away with wounds to his lower body. Thallas lost her life.

According to Close’s girlfriend, the man had been mentally unwell for a long time.

He had been diagnosed with depression as well as a personality disorder but refused to seek help. He frequently abused drugs and alcohol after being sober for three years.

The murder of Thallas was a culmination of a tumultuous night where he had been drinking and arguing with his girlfriend for hours. Thallas just happened to be the person who was at the receiving-end of his outburst. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And recently, some more disturbing information has come to light about Thallas’s murder.

According to Denver Police, the gun that Close used to murder Thallas was taken from his friend, police officer Sgt. Dan Politica.

The close friendship between a police officer and an unhinged murder is, understandably, drawing questions from the Denver community.

The Denver Police Department confirmed that Close and Politica were “close friends”. Thalla’s mother, Anna Thallas, appears to have even more information on the friendship.

“They’re best friends. Life-long best friends for over 20 years. They grew up together,” she told 9News Denver.

Anna Thallas is angry and frustrated that the Denver police aren’t conducting an internal investigation.

The DPD argues that Sgt. Politica did nothing wrong. Thallas points to his failure to report the rifle missing until after her daughter was missing as a massive red flag. It is also worth noting that Politica has a history of violence and disciplinary actions by the DPD.

According to phone records, Close texted Sgt. Politica before the murder complaining about a dog in his neighborhood. After he murdered Thallas, he left Politica a voicemail saying he “really f—-d up bad.”

“That man should be stripped of his uniform,” Anna Thallas said. “Had that officer acted in his capacity and the oath that he took to serve and protect and was a responsible gun owner, Isabella might still be alive. My daughter might still be here.”

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As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Things That Matter

As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Cengiz Yar / Getty Images

Cities across the United States are experiencing the worst yet of the Coronavirus pandemic. From California to New York, the country is struggling. However, one area that has emerged as a severe hot spot for the virus is El Paso, Texas.

The city has emerged as one of the nation’s hardest-hit regions. To put it into perspective, El Paso has more active Covid-19 infections than the entire country of Mexico.

In addition to a major spike in cases, the city is also seeing an increase in Covid-19 deaths that is seriously overwhelming healthcare workers, public health officials, and the network of morgues. It’s so bad that the city was using inmates to help transport bodies until the Texas’ governor finally deployed the National Guard to assist.

El Paso is emerging as the face of the second wave in the U.S. and the scenes are terrifying.

The El Paso community is struggling to control it’s severe spike in Covid-19 cases as it becomes a national hot spot for the pandemic. As infection rates rise, El Paso has registered more active Covid-19 cases than the entire country of Mexico.

El Paso (a city of 840,000 people) has 34,487 active cases while Mexico (a nation of 129 million) has 23,284. Although, it’s worth noting that many say Mexico’s actual number could be as many as ten times higher thanks to a severely-limited testing program.

El Paso’s government has attempted to get ahead of the virus and had implemented a wide-ranging stay-at-home order that called for hair salons, gyms and restaurant dine-in services to close. However, a court ruling last week by the 8th Circuit struck down that order, putting thousands of lives at risk.

One nurse went viral after telling her story inside “the pit” where many victims are left to die.

One nurse who worked in an El Paso hospital has gone viral after sharing her harrowing story from inside a Covid-19 hospital. In a nearly hourlong Facebook Live video, Lawanna Rivers, a traveling nurse, said that her time spent at the University Medical Center of El Paso was the worst experience she’s had since the pandemic began.

“Out of all the COVID assignments I’ve been on, this one here has really left me emotionally scarred,” she said. “The facility I’m at has surpassed the one I was at in New York.”

Rivers was most upset about how the sickest patients at the hospital were treated. She said they were all put into an area called a “pit,” where they are essentially left to die.

“My first day at orientation, I was told that whatever patients go into the pit, they only come out in a body bag,” Rivers said.

Rivers said doctors at the hospital would not enter the area, and nurses like herself who were stationed in them were under orders to perform CPR just three times on a patient before letting them die.

Rivers said she learned that doctors wouldn’t enter the pit when she called a physician for help one day with a patient who was bleeding profusely. She said the doctor told her they don’t go into the rooms for the sickest COVID-19 patients, so as to not expose themselves to the disease.

Inmates are joining the frontlines as they help to move the bodies of Covid-19 victims.

Credit: Justin Hammel / Getty Images

As the city struggled to manage the spiraling number of infections and deaths, inmates at the County Detention Facility were called upon to assist the El Paso Medical examiner with the overflow of bodies at the morgue.

Inmates were seen in full PPE gear assisting mobile morgues with the rising body count. A spokesperson for the county did not further detail exactly what the inmates were being asked to do but that they were being paid $2 per hour and were serving time for low-level sentences. The county also defended the decision to use inmate labor, saying it was either that or force families to wait even longer to start funeral arrangements.

The National Guard has been called upon to help work in mortuaries.

Credit: Ivan Aguirre / Getty Images

After El Paso resorted to using county jail inmates to move bodies for nearly two weeks, the Texas Army National Guard is sending a 36-person team to assist with mortuary services.

“This is very much needed in our community, and we’re really thankful for [the Texas Division of Emergency Management] and the governor’s action on this,” Democratic state Rep. and Sen.-elect César Blanco said Friday.

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