A young married Texas father was shot dead last week after using his body to shield his 4-year-old son from the bullets of armed robbers — as his pregnant wife watched in horror.
Juvenal Antero, 24, was with his family in their Dallas apartment Saturday afternoon, when a pair of strangers knocked on their door, asking to borrow a plunger, the victim’s wife, Elizabel Cardenas, told the station WFAA.
The uninvited guests then forced their way inside the apartment — and one of them displayed a gun.
“I’m slamming the door on [the robber’s] hand, and I’m holding the door with all the strength that I could pull,” said Cardenas, who is 11 weeks pregnant.
Antero ran to grab his own gun and returned to find his child in the armed intruder’s crosshairs.
“My husband jumped in front of my son and took the bullet for my son,” Cardenas said in a separate interview with the channel NBC DFW. “My husband was able to fire back, defend our family, defend my son.”
Antero was shot once and collapsed on the floor as the robbers ran off.
“He said, ‘They hit me. They hit me. I’m going to die. I don’t want to die in here,’” Cardenas told WFAA.
Antero was rushed to an area hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Antero and Cardenas’ son witnessed the entire harrowing episode, which has left him traumatized.
“My son keeps asking me, when is my dad going to be alive again? Things that no child is supposed to witness or supposed to ask. I don’t wish this on anyone,” said Cardenas.
The couple were just months away from welcoming their second baby, which was conceived after the mom’s two earlier miscarriages and years of fertility struggles.
On Wednesday, Antero and Cardenas were scheduled to go to her prenatal appointment to hear their baby’s heartbeat for the first time and get sonogram photos.
Instead, the family is now busy planning Antero’s funeral.
“I have to welcome this new baby into the world without a father,” the grieving widow said, describing her slain husband as having “a heart of gold.”
So far, no arrests have been made and no suspects have been publicly identified in connection with Antero’s killing.
His wife called on the armed bandits to turn themselves in.
“No one’s life should be taken away because you wanted what we had,” Cardenas said. “You’ll never have what we had or what we continue to have.”