A community came together to celebrate the first birthday of the youngest survivor of the 2019 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.
One-year-old Paul Anchondo was orphaned after his parents, Jordan and Andre Anchondo, died shielding him from bullets in the August 3, 2019 shooting that killed 23 people.
On Saturday, Paul’s uncle and grandfather organized a parade to safely celebrate the toddler’s birthday amid coronavirus concerns.
Hundreds of people from the community drove by and gathered in observance of social distancing guidelines to wish the birthday boy well.
Paul’s uncle, Gilberto Luis Anchondo spoke to reporters at the event.
“I’m so happy. Today is his first birthday and I think we had to celebrate it, not only because it’s his first birthday but because he survived,” he told KDBC-TV.
“He obviously reminds me of my brother a lot. I think they look exactly the same, and you have to remember that Andrew was my little baby brother.”
Well-wishers, including the Muertos motorcycle club, drove through the festivities waving signs to show support and pay respect.
The gathering was emotional for many community members seeking to become closer in light of the devastating event.
“It’s out of this world what happened here,” Paul’s grandfather, Gilbert said.
Gilbert told KTSM the parade is a gesture that shows his grandson that the people of El Paso will always be there for him.
Paul lives among the homes of both sets of his grandparents and his uncle.
His Uncle Gilbert assures him, “Baby Paul, you have your family here, I love you so much. I’m gonna be the best uncle that you can have in this life. I’ll try to be a role model for you, and happy first birthday, I love you.”