Monday, September 26, 2022

Uvalde Man haunts ‘Forever’ after acting as actual coroner on shooting day

An Uvalde justice of the peace said he is deeply shaken after he completed the chilling task of identifying 19 children and two adults killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary School last week, according to NPR.

Because Uvalde County is so small and there is no local medical examiner’s office, the justice on call often serves as the de facto county coroner and also presides over minor civil disputes and wedding ceremonies, NPR reported.

For Eulalio “Lalo” Diaz Jr., justice on call last Tuesday, that day will haunt her for the rest of her life.

“I know both teachers, their husbands,” Diaz told NPR in an interview. “I know probably three-quarters of the children’s families or their grandparents. It’s just that type of community, and it’s close.”

Irma García, one of the two teachers killed that day, was an old classmate Diaz had known her whole life. Her grieving husband and high school sweetheart Joe Garcia died of a heart attack a few days later. Diaz went to high school with the two of them.

Because of the size of the case, a medical examiner from San Antonio’s Bexar County was called in to help. Diaz said that nothing could have prepared her for what she saw when she arrived at the school with the medical examiner.

“It’s a picture that’s going to be on my mind forever, and that’s where I want it to be,” he said, adding that he never wanted to share what he saw.

The AR-15 gun used by the shooter is designed to produce a devastating effect on the body.

A San Antonio trauma surgeon who treated some of the victims said last week that these high-velocity firearms were particularly devastating on the bodies of young children. Dr. Lillian Liao said, “That’s probably why most of the children didn’t make it to the hospital alive.”

Diaz said he would likely seek help processing the trauma.

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