Friends and family mourned the deaths of a Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district alum and his wife Sunday, a day after they were killed in the El Paso shooting massacre that left 20 people dead.
“We are sad to learn that one of our own was a victim of the El Paso shooting,” PSJA School Board President Jesse Zambrano said in a statement confirming the deaths of Leonardo Campos Jr. and his wife, Maribel.
Though Zambrano is a few years older, he and Campos attended PSJA High School together. Campos, who reportedly has children with Maribel, graduated from PSJA in 1996.
“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,” Zambrano said in the statement. “Leo was well liked and a role model to many athletes that looked up to him, including me.”
The couple’s deaths were initially announced via several social media posts Sunday afternoon, including one on Facebook by Edith Saldana Campos, his sister-in-law.
Saldana Campos called Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old man accused of killing 20 people and injuring many others at the El Paso shopping complex a “senseless coward.”
“To everybody else they become yet another statistic in the political reign, but to us..we lost a brother…uncle…grandpa…but most of all a mother lost her son,” she wrote of Campos Jr.
The shooting, meanwhile, is being investigated as a case of domestic terrorism, in which federal authorities are investigating whether the suspected shooter harbored anti-immigrant beliefs.
On Sunday, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez joined Gov. Greg Abbott in calling for flags to be flown at half-staff until Aug. 8.
“Hidalgo County stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in El Paso and in Dayton, OH,” Cortez said via a news release, referring also to the unrelated Dayton, Ohio shooting that left nine people dead over the weekend. “Our hearts ache for the victims and their families.”
The judge condemned the shootings and asked for prayers “for the victims, their families, first-responders, and the doctors and nurses who are working to save lives” and urged residents to donate blood.
The PSJA American Federation of Teachers, or PSJA AFT, also extended sympathies via Facebook on Sunday.
“We would like to express our sincere condolences for his family during this difficult time,” the group wrote. “Rest In Peace Leo Campos.”
Ace Asael Alanis, a friend of Campos, also announced their death via Facebook.
“Leo, you were a great friend and always with a big heart. We are going to miss you brother. All the baseball memories we shared and now you’re with the Lord in heaven,” Alanis wrote. “Nos vemos en el otro lado amigo. (See you on the other side, friend.)”
Zambrano also called for the entire PSJA community to join in prayer.
“Rest in peace, hermano,” the former schoolmate said.