A 25-year-old mother died shielding her two-month-old son as a gunman opened fire in a Texas Walmart — and now it has emerged her husband was also one of the 20 people killed.

Leta Jamrowski, 19, of El Paso, learned on Saturday afternoon that her sister Jordan Anchondo had been shot to death at Walmart while shopping for back-to-school supplies earlier in the day.

Jamrowski spoke to AP in the waiting room at the University Medical Centre of El Paso, where her two-month-old nephew was being treated for broken bones — the result of his mother's fall.

Jordan Anchondo, 25, died while protecting her baby son, her heartbroken sister said. Photo / Supplied
Jordan Anchondo, 25, died while protecting her baby son, her heartbroken sister said. Photo / Supplied

"From the baby's injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him," she said. "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."

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Jamrowski was also waiting on news of whether her brother-in-law, Andre Anchondo, survived the attack at a busy El Paso shopping area.

Confirmation has now come that Mr Anchondo did not survive.

Liz Terry, aunt of Jordan Anchondo, told CNN that Mr Anchondo, died in the mass shooting.

Their three children — ages five, two, and two months old — have now lost both of their parents.

Ms Terry said: "The baby still had her blood on him. You watch these things and see these things and you never think this is going to happen to your family. How do parents go school shopping and then die shielding their baby from bullets?"

Anchondo was shopping in the Walmart store at the time of the attack. Photo / Facebook
Anchondo was shopping in the Walmart store at the time of the attack. Photo / Facebook

A 21-year-old white man was arrested at the scene of the attack in the city of El Paso, near the US-Mexico border.

He is believed to have posted an online document calling the attack a response to "the Hispanic invasion of Texas".

As well as 20 counts of murder, he could face federal hate crime and firearms charges, BBC reported.

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The gunman opened fire on a crowded Walmart with an assault-style rifle and surrendered after being confronted by police officers outside the store. Saturday morning's attack also left 26 people injured.

"We're treating this as a domestic terrorist case," John Bash, the US lawyer for the Western District of Texas, told a news conference.

He said the attack appeared "to be designed to intimidate a civilian population, to say the least".

The Walmart, near the Cielo Vista Mall, was full of shoppers buying back-to-school supplies at the time of the shooting, and witnesses described scenes of chaos as customers fled for their lives.

Hours after the El Paso shooting, a gunman opened fire in a crowded bar in Ohio. He killed nine people including his younger sister and her boyfriend.