A family member of a young couple who died during the El Paso Walmart shooting reportedly said that he received death threat messages after allowing the victims’ 2-month-old baby to pose in a photo with President Trump.
Jordan and Andre Anchondo were among the 22 people killed on August 3 when a gunman opened fire inside the Walmart off of Hawkins and Gateway East boulevards. They died shielding their infant son, Paul, from gunfire.
While Andre jumped in front of the gunman, Jordan covered baby Paul with her body, The New York Times reports.
Within days of the massacre, President Trump made a trip to El Paso and met the surviving baby boy and his uncle. A photo of the president smiling while his wife, Melania Trump, held baby Paul, went viral after the first lady shared it on social media.
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The baby’s uncle, Tito Anchondo, who brought the boy to see the president at a local hospital, said Trump visited El Paso “to give his condolences and he was just being a human being.”
“Is it that hard to try and understand that a family is trying to not be sad at a moment like this? We’re trying to be as strong as we can. My brother is gone,” Tito said, according to the Washington Post.
Many social media users felt that the photo lacked empathy. Others thought the photo was turning the devastating massacre into a political matter.
This baby was recently orphaned by a terrorist who parroted some of Trump’s rhetoric. His parents died trying to shield him. I’ve don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who would think the appropriate response would be flashing a smile and thumbs up. Something is wrong with him. pic.twitter.com/xSIGyIZ4tg
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) August 9, 2019
Tito didn’t provide specific detail about his encounter with Trump, but he reportedly said that after meeting the president, he started receiving death threats.
“We should be coming together as a country at this time instead of threatening each other with hate messages,” Tito said.
The meeting also started rivalry and arguments among Tito’s family members, who wanted to remain “politically neutral,” according to The New York Times.
“We did not want to have our precious baby Paul thrusted into a political battlefield,” Jordan Anchando’s aunt, Elizabeth Terry, wrote on Facebook. “He and his sisters have been through enough.”
Meanwhile, anger over the photo continued on Twitter.
“A baby who was taken from home and forced to serve as a prop at a photo-op for the very monster whose hate killed her/his parents,” writer Greg Pinelo tweeted. “I would need 280,000 characters to say how furious I am.”
This is a photo of Trump grinning while Melania holds a baby orphaned by the shooting. A baby who was taken from home and forced to serve as a prop at a photo-op for the very monster whose hate killed her/his parents.
I would need 280,000 characters to say how furious I am. pic.twitter.com/4umSc9BQHu
— Greg Pinelo (@gregpinelo) August 9, 2019
Some of Jordan’s family members were invited to meet Trump but declined the invitation. Jordan’s uncle, John Jamrowski, said he, too, wanted to remain politically neutral, Time reports.
“We’re politically neutral. We discussed it as a family and said, ‘You know what, this could be spun around.'”
A senior White House official who went with the president to El Paso said that Trump showed his true, “authentic” self when he gave a thumbs up during the photo shoot. The official reportedly argued that Trump was not being insensitive and rude, but instead, he was approachable and supportive of the El Paso victims and their families.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius was arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the El Paso mass shooting.
Earlier this month, authorities said during a press conference that the case is being treated as domestic terrorism and they’ll be seeking the death penalty. El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen added that Crusius readily admitted to the shootings after being detained.
“He was forthcoming with information. He basically didn’t hold anything back,” Allen said.
Two law enforcement officials told ABC News that the suspect admitted to investigators “he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible.”
The outlet reports that the Walmart where the shootings took place is in an area where Mexican tourists frequently visit. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador indicated that three Mexican nationals were killed during the massacre.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico plans to take action “under international law.”
“Mexico declares its profound rejection and complete condemnation of this barbaric act, in which innocent Mexican men and women lost their lives,” Ebrard said on Twitter.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline for additional details.
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[Feature Photo: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks]