Students, Teachers Identified As Victims In Texas School Shooting
A group of students and two fourth-grade teachers are among the first victims to be named in Tuesday’s deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The massacre at the school left at least 19 children and two adults dead, with many others injured. Responding officers fatally shot the gunman at the school.
Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told CNN on Wednesday that all 21 victims had been killed inside one classroom, adding they have all been identified.
“Just goes to show you the complete evil from this shooter,” Olivarez said.
Robb Elementary, which is part of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, teaches students in the second through fourth grades.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news briefing Tuesday.
Here are the names of the victims and their stories:
Amerie Jo Garza, 10
Fourth grader Amerie Jo Garza had just won an honor roll award on Tuesday. The morning was filled with celebration before her death just hours later.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Garza’s grandmother Berlina Irene Arreola described her as a model student who called 911 during the shooting.
“My [granddaughter] was shot and killed for trying to call 911, she died a hero trying to get help for her and her fellow classmates,” Arreola wrote to The Daily Beast.
“So the gunman went in and he told the children, ‘You’re going to die.’ And she had her phone and she called 911. And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her,” Arreola added. “She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood.”
Arreola described Amerie Jo as someone who was “looking forward to making a life for herself,” The Daily Beast reported. She turned 10 years old just two weeks before the shooting, her father Angel Garza told ABC News.
According to KSAT-TV, Garza wrote a message about his daughter on Facebook:
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.
In a phone interview with The New York Times, Garza said his daughter’s death came after the family mourned the loss of several relatives due to the pandemic.
“We were finally getting a break, nobody was passing away,” Garza told the outlet. “Then this happened.”
Robb Elementary teacher Eva Mireles was killed while trying to protect her students after a gunman walked into the school and opened fire, The New York Times reported.
Mireles had been a teacher for 17 years and was in her 40s, per The New York Times. In a staff bio on the Robb Elementary website, Mireles wrote that she had a “supportive, fun and loving family.” She also mentioned that her family included a school district officer, whom she identified as “Ruiz,” and a “college graduate daughter,” Adalynn.
Adalynn shared a tribute to her mother on Twitter, writing that she would miss their daily phone calls at 4:30 pm, when Mireles left school for the day.
“Mom, I have no words to describe how I feel right now, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life. I never thought that I would be here writing this type of post for you. Mom, you are a hero. I keep telling myself that this isn’t real. I just want to hear your voice. I want to hear you talking to our dogs with that silly voice you make so high that wakes everyone up in the morning.
Mireles’ aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, told the Times that Mireles was a hiker who was proud to teach at a school with mostly Latino students.
In a statement sent to KSAT-TV in San Antonio, Delgado said she was furious that these mass shootings continued to target innocent children:
“My niece, Eva Mireles, approximately 17 yr teacher for UCISD along with another teacher and 18 children lost her lives to a senseless tragic shooting.
I’m furious that these shooting continue, these children are innocent, rifles should not be easily available to all.
This is a my hometown a small community of less then [sic] 20,000. I never imagined this would happen to especially to loved ones. not all the facts have been released yet all we can do is pray hard for our country, state, schools and especially the families of all.”
Xavier Lopez, 10
The family of 10-year-old Xavier Lopez, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary, identified him as one of the 19 children who died in Tuesday’s shooting, KSAT-TV reported.
Lopez, along with his mother, attended an awards ceremony for students at the school that morning.
Lisa Garza, Lopez’s cousin, spoke to AP about how the family’s grief.
“He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,” Garza said. “He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.”
“We should have more restrictions, especially if these kids are not in their right state of mind and all they want to do is just hurt people, especially innocent children going to the schools,” Garza continued.
Irma Garcia, another fourth grade teacher who taught alongside Mireles, has been identified as one of the victims in the shooting, her son, Cristian Garcia, confirmed to NBC News. She was seen protecting the children, a law enforcement friend told her son.
Garcia, a mother of four children, had been teaching at the school for 23 years and loved to barbecue with her husband, according to her school profile.
Student Uziyah Garcia was among the victims of the shooting, his grandfather Manny Renfro told The Associated Press.
“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Renfro said. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”
Renfro also said they spent spring break together in San Angelo, where they played football.
“Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,” Renfro told AP.
Jose Flores, 10
Jose Flores, a fourth grader who “loved going to school,” was among those killed, his uncle Christopher Salazar told The Washington Post.
Flores had also made the honor roll, hours before the shooter entered the school.
“He was a very happy little boy,” Salazar said. “He loved both his parents … and loved to laugh and have fun.”
“He was very smart,” Salazar continued. “He wasn’t a kid who would look for trouble.”
Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10
Following news of the shooting at his daughter’s elementary school, Jessie Rodriguez went looking for her.
“I’ve got to find her,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. “After the shooting, they don’t know where she’s at.”
He later learned that she had been killed alongside her cousin, who was in the same class, KHOU 11 reported.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.