‘I’m so heartbroken’: Victims’ families from the Texas elementary school shooting mourn their loss
The victims were mostly 10-year-olds who were in their last week of school. Here’s what is known about them so far
Families mourned the death of 19 children and two teachers in an elementary school shooting in Texas on Tuesday.
By Wednesday morning, the names of victims began to emerge, leaving many families with unimaginable pain.
All the children were in the same fourth grade class, according to KXAN. One was a keen swimmer, another barely turned 10 a few weeks ago and there were two sets of cousins.
Their teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, were both killed, according to KXAN.
Mireles was a teacher for 17 years and trained in bilingual and special education. She enjoyed running, hiking and biking, her profile on the school district’s website read.
She co-taught with Garcia for five years, who had over two decades’ worth of experience. According to NBC News, she was one of 19 San Antonio-area teacher finalists for the Trinity University prize that recognizes excellence in teaching. Garcia had four children and loved barbecuing with her husband, according to Reuters.
Both Mireles and Garcia died trying to shield their students, per Reuters.
The fatalities and injuries mostly took place in one classroom at Robb Elementary School.
- Xavier Lopez, a 10-year-old, was identified as one of the victims. “He was funny, never serious and his smile,” his mother Felicha Martinez told The Washington Post. “That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up.”
His cousin, Lisa Garza, said he loved swimming and was “just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,” per ABC News.
“He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us,” Garza said.
- Amerie Jo Garza, another 10-year-old, has been identified as one of the children killed. Her father, Angel Garza, took to Facebook and said: “Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby. She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie Jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
Her grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, told The Daily Beast that Amerie Jo was shot when she tried dialing 911 to help her fellow classmates.
- Uziyah Garcia, 10, was identified as one of the victims, his family told CNN. His uncle, Mitch Renfro, referred to him as a “great kid,” adding that he was “full of life. Loved anything with wheels, and video games.”
He was remembered by his grandfather, Manny Renfro, as the “sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” according to BBC News.
- Cousins Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez and Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 10-year-olds, were killed, family members told KHOU in Houston.
Jacklyn’s father, Jacinto Cazares, described her as “loving” and “full of life,” per ABC News.
“She had the biggest heart. Jackie was the one that would go out of her way to help anyone. It gives me some comfort, that she would be the little cracker that would have done something to help her classmates in that very scary scenario,” he said, per the report.
Jackie’s aunt and Annabelle’s great-aunt said, “We are a very tight family,” adding that the two cousins were close, per The New York Times.
“It’s just devastating,” she said.
- Cousins Jayce Carmelo Luevanos and Jailah Nicole Silguero, both 10, were confirmed by Jailah’s mother to have been killed, according to BBC News.
Veronica Luevanos posted a message, along with a photo of her daughter, on Facebook early Wednesday: “I’m so heart broken my baby I love u so much mamas don’t ever forget that watch over me daddy and your sisters and big bro.”
In another post, she said: “My baby you didn’t deserve this neither did your classmates n cousin Jayce nor your 2 teacher’s.”
Other victims weren’t immediately identified.
Funeral homes offer their services at zero cost
Two funeral homes in Uvalde have offered to cover funeral costs for the victims of the shooting.
Hillcrest Memorial Funeral home in a Facebook post said : “We have fought together as a community and we will pull together as one now in our time of need,” adding that they will assist families at no cost.
The Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary also offered to help, according to The Washington Examiner.
“As the situation develops and we have the opportunity to assist our community, not one family will be charged for our services,” the mortuary said.