Hear from Uvalde students, families about victims, emotions and what needs to change

‘Some people shouldn’t have guns’: Students and families are speaking out about tragedy that forever changed Uvalde

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial at Robb Elementary School to pay their respects to the victims of the mass shooting, Sunday, May 29, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, hundreds of people have paid their respects to the 21 lives lost.

On Sunday, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill BIden visited the city and the community in mourning, with the commander-in-chief pledging he “will” do something about gun violence.

In KSAT’s live coverage of the Bidens’ visit to Uvalde, students and families spoke out about their emotions and “pain,” and their wish for change.

One of those students, 11-year-old Alina Borrego, who formerly attended Robb elementary, gave a powerful interview about guns being in the wrong hands. Simply put, she said, “some people shouldn’t have guns.”

Read more from students and families below:

‘Don’t kill me!’

Alina Borrego, who lost a friend in the Robb Elementary School shooting, told KSAT anchor Steve Spriester that stricter gun control laws need to be passed or “it’s gonna happen again and again.”

Alina Borrego, an 11-year-old Uvalde girl, made her message loud and clear on Sunday as the president and first lady visited the memorial and met with victims.

Borrego was carrying a sign at the memorial site in downtown Uvalde that read, “I want to live. I want to study. I want to be a dentist. Don’t kill me!”

Alina told KSAT anchor Steve Spriester that she was carrying the sign to let people know “that something is wrong. We need some new rules in our school. Anyone can get in and do it again, each year, each year, again and again.”

The former Robb Elementary student said that she knew 10-year-old Jacklyn Cazares, one of the 19 students killed in Tuesday’s shooting.

“Immediately shocked. I didn’t believe it until her mom was the one who posted it on Facebook, and it was unbelievable. I really didn’t know what to do. And I just started crying,” Alina said, recalling when she learned of Jacklyn’s death.

When Steve asked Alina what she wanted people to know about Uvalde after the shooting, she replied, “If we want the (community) to heal we need some new rules. Cuz, if we don’t change nothing, it’s gonna be the same and it’s gonna happen again and again. Some people shouldn’t have guns or weapons, you know. Some people that have the wrong mentality shouldn’t have some.”

Read more: 11-year-old who attended Robb elementary says ‘we need new rules,’ ‘some people shouldn’t have guns’

‘They were always there for me’

Josiah and Destiny, former students at Robb Elementary, discuss their relationships with the teachers who were killed in the shooting in an interview with KSAT anchors Steve Spriester and Alicia Barrera.

Siblings Josiah and Destiny, who are former Robb Elementary students, told KSAT anchors Steve Spriester and Alicia Barrera about their memories of Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles.

The two teachers were killed in Tuesday’s attack, along with their 19 students.

“They were really caring,” said Josiah. “They helped me a lot with my grades. When I was having bad days; they were always there for me, talking to me. They were both there for me.”

“They were nice teachers... they always took up for me,” Destiny said. “It’s sad to know our teachers are resting in heaven.”

Destiny said she also knew three of the fourth-grade victims, adding that they were nice and “always smiling.”

They were shocked and saddened by the news, Josiah said, but he added that the support from Texans and the memorials have helped lessen the pain.

“It does help a little bit. Because I know it’s not just me in pain,” said Josiah.

Read more: ‘They were always there for me’: Former Robb elementary students discuss teachers killed in Uvalde

‘He will never be the same’

Briana Ruiz said her 9-year-old son saw the gunman through the window and was told by his teacher to play dead on the floor.

Briana Ruiz dropped off her son, 9-year-old Daniel Garza, at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, just as she has every other day during the school year. She didn’t know that the particular school day would change their lives forever.

Daniel and his mother told ABC News that he was inside his classroom when he saw the 18-year-old gunman storm into the school with an AK-style rifle.

He saw the gunman through his classroom window and watched as his teacher, Elsa Avila, quickly sprung into action.

Avila locked the classroom door and played dead on the floor while telling students to remain quiet, according to ABC News.

Daniel’s mother said his teacher’s quick actions may have been what saved the lives of her son and other students.

“I personally can’t thank my son’s teacher enough, because I feel what she did saved all their lives,” Briana said.

The gunman tried to get into their classroom, but since the door was locked, he shot through the door and made his way to a fourth-grade classroom, where he killed 21 people and barricaded himself.

One of the victims was Daniel’s cousin and his mother’s niece.

As the Uvalde community works to piece itself back together after this horrific incident, Briana told ABC News that more needs to be done to ensure schools are safe for her child, and for others.

She added that her son isn’t the same. “The same child that I dropped off that morning, I feel like a piece of him stayed there because when I did got him back, he wasn’t the same anymore,” Briana told ABC News. “I know it’s gonna take time and it’s gonna be a long road of recovery, especially for him.”

Read more: ‘He will never be the same’: Mother of Robb Elementary student says her son is forever changed after shooting

It was the worst day of my life”

The Texas Department of Public Safety says a wrong decision lead to more lives being lost during the mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school. Robb Elementary School parents tell KSAT's John Paul Barajas they now want answers as to how or why the on-scene commander delayed officers from jumping into action.

The parent of a Robb Elementary School student who wanted to remain anonymous told KSAT that Tuesday was “the worst day of her life.”

Her daughter is one of the survivors.

The mother said she is counting her blessings but is demanding answers on why the gunman was in the school for nearly an hour and a half before being stopped.

“These kids didn’t have nothing... They had nothing and nobody in there to protect them. It’s a shame. It’s sad...,” the parent said.

The mother said her daughter is alive but not okay. She said her daughter won’t be in a room by herself and won’t let any doors to the rooms she’s in close.

She added that her cousin’s child didn’t make it out of Tuesday’s mass shooting.

Read more: ‘It was the worst day of my life,’ Parent of Robb Elementary student wants answers on delayed police response

‘It’s scary’

KSAT anchor Steve Spriester interviews the Avitia family from San Antonio.

While not from Uvalde, one San Antonio family felt the pain of the massacre. The Avitia family said that they drove from San Antonio to Uvalde to stand alongside the grief-stricken community.

“This has been so, so difficult for all that we just had to do a little something for this community and to keep us strong as a family, because this really hit hard,” one of the family members said.

The Avitia family wore T-shirts that they made themselves, which read “Uvalde Strong” with an outline of the state of Texas.

When Spriester asked the family what inspired them to wear their support, they said it was the least they could do during a time like this.

“It’s not gonna make a difference with what happened, but we’re here and we’re hurting just like everyone else here.”

One of the family members, a young mother, was holding her infant daughter. Spriester asked her how she was feeling in wake of the elementary school shooting.

“It’s scary. It’s hard to think that in a couple of years, I have to send her (the infant) and know that you don’t know what’s going to happen,” she told Spriester. “I know it’s scary for the parents... we don’t know what they’re going through.”

Read more: ‘It’s scary’: Mother brought to tears, fearful of child’s safety in wake of Uvalde shooting

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About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.