UVALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) — Tuesday should have been a winning day for 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez. Instead, it was the day he died.
Maite was among 19 grade schoolers who were shot and killed along with two teachers at Robb Elementary School in the southwestern Texas town of Uvalde. The 18-year-old gunman also died.
Matte loved physical education and excelled – after her death, her teacher texted her mother to say that she was very competitive at kickball and ran faster than all the boys.
She has always been a straight-forward student until the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school to cancel individual classes. Zoom didn’t work well for Might – he got all the Fs. But with school season back in, Mitte rebounded — all the ASs and Bs. She was among the students of the honor list in a meeting on Tuesday morning.
“He worked hard, I only encouraged him,” his mother, Ana Rodriguez, said in an interview Thursday at her dining room table, which displayed a bouquet of red roses, honor roll certificates and photos of Might.
Hours later, Maite was gone. Her mother described her as “focused, competitive, smart, bright, beautiful, happy”.
As a kindergartner, Maite said she wanted to be a marine biologist and stuck firmly to that goal. He discovered a program at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi and told his mother that he was ready to study there.
“She was just so inspired. She was definitely special. She was going to be something, she was going to be something very special,” Rodriguez said.
Jacqueline Cazares, who would have turned 10 on June 10, was a tough-minded “cracker” who wanted to help those in need, her father said. Jacqueline and her second cousin, Annabel Rodriguez, were particularly tight-lipped with three other classmates at Rob Elementary School.
“They’re all gone now,” said Javier Cazares. “All his little best friends were also killed.”
Despite her young age, Jacqueline was tough minded and kind.
“He had a voice,” said his father. “She didn’t like being bullied, she didn’t like being raised by kids. Overall, full of love. She’s big-hearted.”
“She was a character, a little cracker.”
Cazares took his daughter to school on Tuesday for the award ceremony. About 90 minutes later the family got a call about an active shooter.
“I kicked the hell out like a bat,” he said. “My baby was in trouble.”
“There were over 100 people waiting. It was chaotic,” he said of the school scene. He became impatient with the police’s response and even picked up the idea of going inside with other onlookers.
Cazares said her niece followed an ambulance to the hospital and saw Jacqueline being taken inside. Soon the entire family arrived and pressed the hospital authorities for information for nearly three hours. He begged, cried and showed Jacqueline pictures. Finally, a priest, police officer and a doctor came to him.
“My wife asked the question, ‘Is she alive or has she passed? Kazares said. “They were like, ‘No, she’s gone.'”
As KTRK-TV reports, Ryan Ramirez also reached out to Rob Elementary upon hearing about the shooting, hoping to find his daughter Alithia and take her home. But Alithia was also among the victims.
Ramirez’s Facebook page includes a photo, now shown around the world, of a little girl wearing a multi-colored T-shirt announcing she’s out of “single digits” after turning 10 Is. The same picture was posted again on Wednesday without a word, but with Alithia wearing angel wings.
The mourning only increased on Thursday with the confirmation that the broken husband of 48-year-old Irma Garcia, one of the teachers killed, had died.
As The New York Times reports, 50-year-old Joe Garcia dropped flowers at his wife’s memorial on Thursday morning. His nephew John Martinez told the newspaper that after returning home he “simply collapsed” and died of a heart attack.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Rushing-Estes-Knowles morgue confirmed Joe Garcia’s death to the Associated Press. The Associated Press was unable to independently reach members of the Garcia family on Thursday.
The couple, married for 24 years, share four children. In a post introducing herself to her class on the school’s website at the start of the school year, Irma García wrote about her love of barbecue, listening to music, and taking “country cruises” to nearby downtown Concun.
The school year, which ended on Thursday, was Irma’s 23rd year of teaching – all at Rob Elementary School. She was previously named School Teacher of the Year and was the recipient of the Trinity Award 2019 for Excellence in Education from Trinity University.
For five years, Irma co-educated with Eva Miracles, who was also killed.
Miracles also posted on the site as the school year began, noting that she had been teaching for 17 years. She cited her “supportive, fun and loving family”.
“Welcome to fourth grade! We have a wonderful year ahead!” she wrote.
Two of the victims expected to leave school that day.
Carmelo Queiroz’s grandson, Jesse Luvenos, 10, had begged his grandmother to accompany his great-granddaughter’s kindergarten class to the San Antonio Zoo on Tuesday. But, he said, the family told Jayce that there was no point in leaving school until the end of the year. Also, Jayce loved school.
“That’s why my wife is in so much pain, because she wanted to go to San Antonio,” Queiroz told USA Today. “He was so sad he couldn’t go. Maybe if he had gone, he would have been here.”
Jayce’s cousin, 10-year-old Jella Nicole Silguero, also wanted to drop out of school that day. Jella’s mother, Veronica Leuvenos, tearfully told Univision that Jella felt something bad was about to happen.
Jella’s friend, Neva Alyssa Bravo, was also killed, and her aunt gave Neveh’s first name as a backwards spelling of heaven. In a Facebook posting, Yvonne White described Neva and Jelah as “our Angels”.
Two men who responded to the shooting discovered their children among the victims.
Uvalde County Sheriff’s Deputy Felix Rubio and his wife were at school Tuesday morning to celebrate with their daughter, 10-year-old Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, as the fourth-grader made the honor roll with all A’s and a good citizen. Received. Prize.
In a Facebook post, Kimberly Rubio wrote: “We told her we love her and will pick her up after school. We didn’t know it was goodbye.”
Medical assistant ngel Garza also quickly arrived at the school and found a girl lying in a pool of blood among the children terrified of the building.
“I’m not hurt. He shot my best friend,” the girl told Garza when she offered help. “She’s not breathing. She was just trying to call the police.”
His friend was Ameri Jo Garza – Angel Garza’s stepdaughter.
Ameri was a happy kid who took the honor roll and loved to paint, draw and work in clay. “She was very creative,” said her grandmother, Dora Mendoza. “She was my child. Whenever she saw flowers, she would pull them.”
GoFundMe pages were set up for multiple victims, including one on behalf of all victims, who have raised more than $3.7 million.
Lexi’s last name is Rubio, this story has been corrected to show not Aniyah. It also corrects the spelling of another victim’s name. She was Annabel Rodriguez, not Annabelle.
Groves reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Associated Press writer Stephanie Dizio contributed to this Los Angeles report.
Find out more of Associated Press’s coverage of the Uvalde school shooting at https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.