A Dallas man was shot and killed while defending his family during a home invasion last week.
Juvenal Antero, 24, was at home with his pregnant wife, Elizabel Cardenas, and 4-year-old son on December 30 when two men knocked on the door of their apartment in Pleasant Grove. The residential complex is off South St. Augustine and C.F. Hawn Freeway in Council Member Tennell Atkins’ District 8.
As Cardenas recalled while speaking to WFAA, one of the men asked for a plunger, but then he allegedly pulled out a gun, and the duo began trying to force their way inside.
“I’m slamming the door on his hand, and I’m holding the door with all the strength that I could pull,” Cardenas said. “My husband grabbed his weapon and jumped in front of my son and protected my son. They started shooting him.”
“We were his everything. We were all that mattered to him,” she added.
Antero managed to shoot at the suspects, but they did not appear to have been injured. They fled the scene and are still being sought by police. Antero was taken to a hospital but died of his wounds.
“It’s hard for me not to have him here because he guided me through everything,” Cardenas said. “He had a heart of gold.”
The couple’s unborn child is due in July, and they were supposed to hear the heartbeat for the first time at an appointment scheduled a few days after the shooting.
“I’ve suffered two miscarriages. We’ve been trying for these couple of years. It finally happened. … I have to welcome this new baby into the world without a father,” Cardenas said.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the family cover funeral expenses.
Following the upward trajectory seen in 2023, with murders increasing by 15% compared to the year prior, there have already been five criminal homicides committed in Dallas in the first four days of 2024. According to the City’s crime analytics dashboard, this represents a year-over-year increase of 66.7%.
The Dallas Police Department has been struggling to get crime under control due in large part to a longstanding officer shortage. It currently has only around 3,000 officers on staff despite a City report recommending around 4,000.
The impact of the staffing issue is most clearly seen in Downtown Dallas, which regularly sees far more crime than Fort Worth’s downtown area. The latter is patrolled by a specialized police unit and private security guards.