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(CNN/WSVN) — Nineteen children and two teachers were killed after a gunman barricaded himself inside a fourth-grade classroom in Uvalde, Texas, and opened fire.
Tuesday’s massacre took place just days before the end of the school year at Robb Elementary School. What should have been a time of celebration soon turned into one of grief and agony.
Families gathered at a civic center that night to learn whether their loved ones had survived. Some had the grim task of providing DNA swabs to help investigators determine whether their family members was among the victims.
As of Wednesday afternoon, at least six families said they had received devastating news.
Here’s what friends and relatives want everyone to remember about the people they lost:
Amerie Jo Garza
For seven hours, Angel Garza scrambled to find his 10-year-old daughter, Amerie Jo. He pleaded for the public’s help on Facebook.
“I don’t ask for much or hardly even post on here but please It’s been seven hours and I still haven’t heard anything on my love,” Garza wrote. “Please help me find my daughter.”
On Wednesday morning, Garza gave a heartbreaking update.
“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,” Garza posted.
“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.”
A fourth-grade teacher, Eva Mireles, was also killed at the school, her aunt Lydia Martinez Delgado told CNN.
Delgado never imagined such a tragedy would hit her family, she told CNN affiliate KSAT.
“I’m furious that these shooting(s) continue,” the aunt told KSAT. “These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all. This is … my hometown, a small community of less than 20,000.”
Mireles’ had been an educator for 17 years. In her off time, she enjoyed running, hiking, biking and being with her family, according to her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s website.
Just hours before he was killed, 10-year-old Xavier Lopez was lauded at Robb Elementary’s honor roll ceremony, his mother, Felicha Martinez, told The Washington Post.
Martinez took a photo of her fourth-grader and told him she was proud of him and loved him. That was the last moment she was to share with her “mama’s boy.”
“He was funny, never serious and his smile,” Felicha Martinez told the Post, her voice breaking. “That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up.”
Just a few days shy of completing his last year of elementary school, Xavier was counting down to his official move up the academic ladder into Flores Middle School in Uvalde, his mother told the Post.
“He really couldn’t wait to go to middle school,” she said.
The family of 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia told CNN that their fourth-grader was among those killed at Robb Elementary.
Uziyah was “full of life,” according to an uncle, Mitch Renfro. He loved video games and anything with wheels, and leaves behind two sisters.
“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Garcia’s grandfather Manny Renfro told CNN affiliate KSAT. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”
Uziyah last visited his grandfather in San Angelo during his spring break. Renfro recalls tossing around a football with him and how quickly his grandson took to the sport.
“We started throwing the football together, and I was teaching him pass patterns. Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,” Renfro said. “There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced.”
Jose Flores Jr.
Jose Flores Jr., 10, was also among those killed at Robb Elementary, his father Jose Flores Sr. told CNN.
Flores described the fourth grader as an amazing kid and big brother to his two siblings. Jose loved baseball and video games.
“He was always full of energy,” Flores said. “Ready to play till the night.”
Felix and Kimberly Rubio had just celebrated their daughter Lexi’s achievements at school before she was killed.
Lexi, who was 10 years old and in the fourth grade, had made the All-A honor roll and received a good citizen award, her parents told CNN.
“We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye,” Kimberly Rubio wrote in a post on Facebook.
The parents told CNN they were proud of their daughter, who loved softball and basketball. She wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up, the family told CNN.
“She was kind, sweet, and appreciated life. She was going to be an all-star in softball and had a bright future, whether it’s sports or academic. Please let the world know we miss our baby.”
Felix Rubio, a deputy with the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN’s Jason Carroll he was one of many authorities who responded to the scene of the shooting. The grieving father said he wants to see gun violence addressed.
“All I can hope is that she’s just not a number,” he said through tears. “This is enough. No one else needs to go through this. We never needed to go through this, but we are.”
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez
Family members identified Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, as one of the victims, according to CNN affiliate KHOU-TV.
She was a third-grader at the school. Her family told KHOU that she was in the same classroom as her cousin, who was also shot and killed.
The cousin’s name has not been released.
Eliahana ‘Elijah’ Cruz Torres
She didn’t want to go to school Tuesday, although with having only two days left in the school year, her family told her she had to.
Irma Garcia, a teacher at Robb Elementary, has been identified as a victim in Tuesday’s shooting, CNN has confirmed through a GoFundMe site set up to raise funds for funeral expenses and family needs.
Garcia was a wife and mother to four children, the GoFundMe campaign said.
“Sweet, kind, loving. Fun with the greatest personality. A wonderful 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary that was a victim in a Texas school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom. She was a hero. She was loved by many and will truly be missed,” the campaign said.
Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, told The Washington Post that officials informed the family that she helped shield students from the gunfire.
“I want her to be remembered as someone who sacrificed her life and put her life on the line for her kids,” Martinez told the Post on Wednesday. “They weren’t just her students. Those were her kids, and she put her life on the line, she lost her life to protect them. That’s the type of person she was.”
According to Martinez, Irma’s husband, Joe Garcia, died Thursday.
According to Garcia’s profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website, she had been an educator for 23 years. It was her fifth year co-teaching with Eva Mireles, who was also tragically gunned down at the elementary school.
Eliana ‘Ellie’ Garcia
Family members identified Eliana “Ellie” Garcia, 9, as one of the victims, according to CNN affiliate KHOU.
Rogelio Lugo and Nelda Lugo, Garcia’s grandparents, told the Los Angeles Times that she was a fourth-grader at the school and the second-eldest of five girls in the family.
She loved the movie “Encanto,” cheerleading and basketball, according to her grandparents. They add that she dreamed of becoming a teacher.
Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo
Ten-year-old Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo was killed in the shooting, her cousin told the Washington Post.
Austin Ayala told the paper the family is devastated after losing Nevaeh, whom he said put a smile on everyone’s face
Funeral services are pending, according to an online obituary by Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home.
Tess Marie Mata
Tess Marie Mata, 10, had been saving money for a trip to Disney World with her family before she was killed at Robb Elementary, her sister, Faith Mata, told The Washington Post.
Tess was in the fourth grade and loved TikTok dances, Ariana Grande and the Houston Astros, Faith Mata told the Post.
“My precious angel you are loved so deeply. In my eyes you are not a victim but a survivor. I love you always and past forever baby sister, may your wings soar higher then you could ever dream,” Faith Mata wrote on Twitter.
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