Adalynn Ruiz will never forget the last text message she sent to her mother, Eva Mireles, on the morning of May 24.
“I texted my mom and I said, ‘You’re gonna be OK, mom. I love you so much.’ And that’s the last thing I sent her before I found out that she didn’t make it,” Adalynn said.
Adalynn’s mother was teaching fourth graders at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde when the unthinkable happened -- a gunman made his way inside of the school while armed with an AR-15-style rifle and took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. Eva was one of the victims.
The 23-year-old daughter spoke out for the first time since the shooting in an interview with ABC News. She said she heard about the shooting on Facebook, but she never thought something would happen to her mother.
“I started reading on Facebook that the shooter was inside of a classroom. And then, I kind of started to freak out a little bit,” Adalynn said. “But I didn’t think, like, ‘It’s not my mom. It’s not gonna be my mom.’”
She said her concern started to grow after her mother wouldn’t answer her phone calls.
“I called her again and she didn’t answer, but I figured she can’t be on her phone. She’s taking care of her kids,” Adalynn said. “She didn’t answer me again, and then I was talking to my tias -- her sisters. They were asking, like, ‘What about your mom? Is she OK? Is she OK?’ I just kept saying, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’”
Adalynn was also concerned about her father, Ruben Ruiz, who is a school district police officer with Uvalde CISD. He also responded to the scene at Robb.
After several missed calls, Adalynn said her father reached her to say he was safe, but too busy to talk.
According to the Texas House report on the shooting, Ruben Ruiz entered the school but was escorted away from the building by fellow officers.
Soon after, Adalynn heard terrible news from her aunt.
“My tia had called me and said that my mom had been shot,” Adalynn said. “So I just remember dropping my phone, and I just started screaming and crying, and that was like one of my worst fears… somebody coming and shooting my family. And it happened.”
Adalynn’s coworker drove her home to Uvalde, which was about an hour away from where she was working. She said it felt “like the longest drive ever” as she waited for a reply from Eva.
She sent one last text message to her mother, but it was never answered.
The shooter went inside two adjoining fourth-grade classrooms, one of which was Eva Mireles’ class, and opened fire.
Adalynn had later learned her mother had tried to save her students and shielded them from the gunman. She said she wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“When I heard that she jumped in front of her students, I think my first thought was, ‘Of course, of course she would,’” Adalynn said. “That’s just her. That’s just who she was.”
She said her mother was “a hero way before this” and that, ultimately, she hopes to follow in her footsteps.
“She has just always inspired me. She was dedicated to her job, a hard worker. She was strong. I just, I really hope to be exactly like her,” Adalynn said.