UVALDE, Texas – A week after a deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School, the Uvalde community is standing more united than ever as they begin to say their final goodbyes to the 19 children, teachers Eva Mireles and Irma García, and her husband, Joe García.
On Monday, barricades surrounding Robb Elementary School were lifted, allowing mourners to place flowers at each memorial site themselves. On Tuesday, people from across Texas and the nation arrived heartbroken, with flowers in hand and tears in their eyes.
Down the street, Amerie Garza’s casket would be taken to Hillcrest Cemetery. Her obituary described the 10-year-old as a sassy and caring little girl. Amerie was also a Girl Scout and was posthumously awarded one of the highest honors in the organization on Monday -- the Bronze Cross. She was honored for attempting to save the lives of her classmates last Tuesday by calling 911.
Maite Rodríguez, 10, was laid to rest Tuesday evening. According to her obituary posted online, Maite loved the ocean. Her favorite animals were dolphins, whales and dogs. Her goal was to become a marine biologist.
These children’s stories have gripped the world and drawn thousands to pay their respects in person.
Adriana Ríos, a special education teacher in Robstown, Texas, traveled with her family to pay their respects.
“My little one’s been praying every night for them,” Ríos said. “She’s five, and she understood.”
Becky Camacho made the trip to Uvalde from San Marcos with her daughter and granddaughter. She just completed her first year in education.
“We’ve done drills before but never really seen anything like this,” Camacho said. “It’s heartbreaking. I mean, it was my first year in school, and the kids there, I got so attached to them. So I couldn’t even imagine.”
Others like Dion Green, a survivor of the 2019 Dayton, Ohio, mass shooting, said he was there to help guide the 21 families. He lost his father, Derrick Fudge, in the mass shooting. Nine people were killed, and 17 others were wounded in the Dayton shooting.
“We tend to forget what happens, but we (as survivors and family) don’t,” Green said. “We live in that moment for the rest of our lives. So, you know, I just want people to just lift these families up and this community up as well and just be there for them when the dust settles.”
Green plans to stay in town for several days to connect with the victims’ families.
“Because right now, everybody’s here,” Green said. “But who’s going to be here in the long run when we really have the challenges and fights? And that’s when it really matters.”
Uvalde community members said learning more about how the shooting unfolded and what was or was not done for those inside the school has made healing even harder.
Funerals continue Wednesday for student José Manuel Flores Jr., teacher Irma García and her husband, Joe García, who died of a heart attack days after the mass shooting.
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