‘I don’t want my daughters name tarnished by just how she died’: Father of Amerie Jo Garza vows to keep fighting for justice

Amerie Jo Garza was laid to rest on May 31, the first of the Robb Elementary victims to be buried

‘I don’t want my daughters name tarnished by just how she died’: Father of Amerie Jo Garza vows to keep fighting for justice

UVALDEKSAT 12 is continuing to remember and honor the victims of the Uvalde shooting.

Almost two weeks after she was killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting, Amerie Jo Garza’s father is vowing not to let his daughter’s death be in vain.

“Me and her, we had that special connection, you know -- a very special connection. It was just different, you know, than any other relationship that I’ve ever had with anybody,” said Alfred Garza, Amerie’s biological father.

The painting of her smiling makes it feel like little Amerie is still in her father’s living room.

“I still have her clothes in the closet. I have her sandals there. It sucks. It really does suck. As her stepmom, it sucks,” Viviana Granados said.

When thinking about the day Amerie was born, May 10, 2012, Garza and Granados can’t help but share a laugh and a look.

“The day she was born was very, very emotional. Probably just as emotional as the day I said bye,” Garza explained.

From a young age, he wanted to be a dad. Amerie made that dream a reality.

“I mean, that’s the best title I’ve ever had is father,” he said.

Amerie was the first of the 21 victims killed inside Robb Elementary to be buried.

The Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas posthumously awarded her The Bronze Cross, writing on Twitter that she did all she could to save the lives of her classmates and teachers.

“For her to be honored, it makes me proud,” Garza said.

Amerie’s cross in downtown Uvalde is covered in flowers and other tributes. Alfred Garza is now a part of a unique family, one filled with the heartbreak of losing a loved one in a mass shooting.

“We need to kind of prevent this from happening, right? We can’t just say, ‘Oh, this happened,’ and just sweep it down the rug. Something has to change,” Garza said.

Garza and his lawyers sent a letter to Daniel Defense, the makers of the AR-15 allegedly used by the Uvalde shooter, to demand information on their marketing to teens and children. According to a news release, “The letter also asks for the gun company’s communications with the Uvalde shooter.”

Garza promises to make the information public and keep fighting for justice for his baby girl.

“I don’t want my daughter’s name tarnished by just how she died. I want -- I prefer to remember her how she lived,” he said.

Click here for the latest on KSAT’s Uvalde coverage

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.