Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Grief and worry after Texas school shooting

Relatives took to social media and waited in a desperate attempt to find their missing children as the death toll in a horrific shooting at a Texas elementary school climbed to at least 19 students. Authorities said the gunman also killed two adults.

Adolfo Cruz, 69, who works repairing air conditioners, was still outside Robb Elementary School, in the town of Uvalde, at sunset Tuesday, waiting for news about his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres, whose whereabouts were still unclear to the family.

Cruz drove to the scene of the shooting after receiving a tearful and terrifying call from her daughter shortly after the first reports of an attack by an 18-year-old gunman. As she waited outside school Tuesday night, her family was at the hospital and civic center awaiting any possible news of her condition.

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According to Çruz, the wait was proving to be the hardest moment of his life.

“I hope she’s alive,” he said. “They are waiting for an update.”

“This is a surprise to me. I also feel sorry for all the other families. This is a small community. Uvalde has always been very friendly. People are really friendly,” Cruz added.

On social media, families posted images of children smiling as they asked for information. Classes were in their final stretch and each school day had a theme. Tuesday’s was “Footloose and Fancy”, and students were supposed to wear nice clothes with fun or fancy shoes.

As night fell, the names of those killed during the attack began to emerge. Teacher Eva Mireles was remembered as a loving mother and wife.

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“She was adventurous. I would definitely say wonderful things about her. She is going to be sorely missed,” said one of her relatives, Amber Ybarra of San Antonio.

Ybarra was preparing to donate blood for the wounded and reflected how no one could detect possible problems in the shooter in time to stop him.

“For me, it’s more about raising awareness about mental health,” said Ybarra, a wellness instructor who studied at the center where the tragedy occurred. “Somebody could have seen a dramatic change before something like this happened.”

Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home, which is across the street from the school, said in a Facebook post Tuesday night that it will help victims’ families by offering its services free of charge.

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