There were a couple of days left before the start of summer vacation at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a town of 16,000 inhabitants 130 kilometers from San Antonio. That moment, which children cherish as one of the most anticipated of the year, turned into an unfathomable tragedy for the families of 19 school students and two teachers on Tuesday. An 18-year-old named Salvador Ramos broke into a fourth-grade class at around 11:30 a.m. and opened fire on the children. A police officer later killed Ramos.
The identities of the victims have been known with an eyedropper, while the parents went from one place to another Tuesday trying to get some information. They themselves have been sharing the details of their intimate drama on social networks and in local and national media over the hours.
This is what is known about the victims so far:
Eva Mireles (44 years old)
She was the children’s teacher. She had been teaching in the Uvalde school district for 17 years. She was married to a policeman. They had a daughter. On the elementary school’s website, she welcomed her students to a course that would end up being their last, with this message: “Welcome to fourth grade! We have a wonderful year ahead! We are a supportive, fun and loving family. I love to run, walk, and you might see me ride a bike too!”
Irma Garcia (46 years old)
I helped Mireles with teaching tasks. Mother of four children, she had been teaching for 23 years. A nephew of hers has said that she liked to make barbecues and music, also that she died trying to defend Ramos’ students from her.
Xavier Lopez (10 years old)
His mother, Felicha Martínez, has told The Washington Post that just a few hours before the shooting she had participated in an end-of-year ceremony at school. “He was a funny kid, he never got serious and his smile… that smile I’ll never forget,” she said, “it lifted anyone’s spirits.” A cousin, Lisa Garza, has added that Xavier was looking forward to summer, that he planned to spend “swimming non-stop.” “He was a loving child, he loved to dance with his brothers and with his mother.”
Uziyah Garcia (8 years old)
He is the youngest victim identified so far. The news of her was made known by her grandfather. “He was the most loving child you can imagine,” he has said of Garcia. Also, that he was a “baseball fan.”
Amerie Jo Garza (10 years old)
She was the first to die, according to the first testimonies collected by the local press. Ramos entered the class, and told the children: “You are going to die.” So, Garza tried to call the emergency phone, and the killer shot him without saying a word. “She was sitting right next to her best friend, and she ended up covered in blood,” said the little girl’s great-grandmother. The father wrote, for his part, on his social networks: “My sweetheart now flies high with the angels. Please don’t take a second of your lives for granted. Hug your families. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie Jo.”
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez (10 years old)
He died in third grade class, along with his cousin, whose name has not been released. In a harrowing experience shared by many of the relatives, the Rodríguez family spent much of Tuesday going from school to the hospital, trying to confirm the terrible news.
Jose Flores Jr. (10 years old)
I was in fourth grade at Robb Elementary School. He loved to play baseball and video games. His uncle Christopher Salazar confirmed the death of his nephew. “He was a very happy boy. He loved his parents…and he loved to laugh and have fun,” Salazar said.
Eliahana ‘Eliajha’ Cruz Torres (10 years old)
Her relatives searched for her all Tuesday afternoon, until they could confirm her worst fears.
Ellie Lugo (10 years old)
“It’s hard to make a statement at a time when my head is going a thousand miles an hour…” Steven Lugo, the girl’s father, acknowledged on Facebook on Tuesday. “But I want to send our thoughts and prayers to those who didn’t make it home tonight either! Our Ellie was a very happy child.”
Miranda Mathis (11 years old)
The girl’s death was confirmed on Facebook by a cousin named Deanna Miller. Miller’s children were also at school at the time of the attack. They were able to escape through a window and take refuge in the neighboring funeral home.
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Nevaeh Bravo (10 years old)
News of her death was confirmed by her cousin, Emily Grace Ayala, on Facebook. “Thank you all for your prayers. Nevaeh has been found! She is now flying among angels. We love you so much, princess! We ask you all to keep her parents and family in your prayers.”
Alithia Ramirez (10 years old)
A photo of her adorned with angel wings served her father both to warn him on Tuesday that he was looking for his daughter and to confirm this Wednesday on Facebook that the little girl was among the victims.
Cousins Jayce Carmelo Luévanos and Jailah Nicole Silguero (10 years old)
The death of both was confirmed by Luévanos’ mother, who had lost her father a week earlier.
Lexi Rubio (10 years old)
Her mother told when announcing that her daughter was among the victims of Salvador Ramos who had received an award for academic achievement that morning. “We told her we were going to pick her up after school. We had no idea that it was actually goodbye.”
Roger Torres (10 years old)
Rogelio Torres’s aunt, Preciosa Pérez, said that the family had been waiting almost 12 hours for the terrible confirmation that her nephew was among the victims. “We are devastated and heartbroken.”, Pérez has declared about the child, whom she has defined as “very intelligent, hardworking and helpful”.
Makenna Elrod (10 years old)
Again, her relatives have recounted the anguished hours they spent looking for the girl, until they could confirm that she was among Ramos’ victims. “It’s sad to see what kind of world we live in,” Brandon Elrod told KTRK television.
Maite Yuleana (10 years old)
On the morning of the shooting, she was recognized as one of the top students in her class. She took a picture of her smiling as she holds two diplomas.
Tess Marie Mata (10 years old)
“My sweet little sister, I never would have thought that I would be writing something like this. Honestly, I have no words, only sadness, confusion and anger, ”her sister, Faith Mata, has written on Facebook. “I am sad that we will never get together with mom and dad again and tell each other how much we mean to each other. I’m confused because how can something like this happen to my sweet, loving, beautiful sister? I’m also angry that some coward took you away from us. I wish we could play softball, go on vacation, hear your infectious laugh, and be able to tell you how much I love you.”
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