Juan de Dios Velazquez and his wife, Estela Nicolasa, 65, moved to El Paso, a border town with many Latino residents, from Ciudad Juárez just six months before they found themselves fighting for their lives outside the store, their niece Norma Ramos said.
"He was arriving at the store when he was shot at close range, and the bullet passed through him and hit my aunt Estela," Ramos explained, citing accounts from other relatives who were in contact with the couple.
Velazquez had allegedly thrown himself in front of his wife, who was hit in the stomach.
"Because he protected her, he took shots in his back," Ramos said.
Ramos's uncle has already gone through several surgeries but may need more, since the bullet punctured his organs, she added. Nicolasa is purportedly stable after undergoing treatment.
On Saturday, a gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in an El Paso shopping area before continuing his attack in a Walmart. Twenty people, including a couple who shielded their 2-month-old baby from the gunfire, died over the weekend. Two more died on Monday from injuries sustained during the shooting.
In the aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, police arrested a 21-year-old suspect from Allen, Texas. Federal authorities said they are now treating the massacre as a domestic terrorism case. Investigators are also considering hate crime charges, after they came across a racist, anti-immigrant post that may have been written by the alleged gunman. The district attorney said that officials plan to pursue the death penalty.
Just hours following the El Paso shooting, another gunman wearing body armor opened fire in a popular nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday. Nine people were reportedly killed and at least 26 were purportedly injured. Responding officers shot and killed the alleged gunman but are still trying to figure out a motive, according to the Associated Press.
Since then, President Trump, who has been repeatedly accused of stoking racial tensions, has denounced the shootings while also condemning "racism, bigotry and white supremacy."
"These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America," he said in a televised address on Monday. "Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul."