A veteran educator whose dedication to a student with Down syndrome left a lasting impression. A jubilant 10-year-old whose dancing and joking lit up his family’s home. A fourth grader who had just made the honor roll.
The names of those slain by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday — including at least 19 children and 2 teachers — were only beginning to emerge in the hours afterward, as the grief-stricken community of 16,000 about 80 miles west of San Antonio tried to process what happened. Just days before summer vacation, an 18-year-old opened fire in a classroom, unleashing carnage not seen at a US school in nearly a decade.
Here is what we know so far about the victims of the attack.
Eva Mireles, 44
Mireles, an educator for 17 years, taught fourth graders at Robb Elementary School, according to her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, who confirmed her niece was among those slain. Delgado said her nephew, Ruben Ruiz, was a police officer with the Uvalde school district and was married to Mireles. The couple's daughter recently graduated from college, Delgado said.
Delgado said Mireles was cheerful and active, and recalled a time she got up before sunrise with other relatives for a hike during a family gathering. "She did all she could to live a long life, and here it was cut short," Delgado said in a phone interview early Wednesday.
Audrey Garcia said she will never forget the attention Mireles paid to her daughter Gabby, now 23, when she was in third grade.
"My daughter has Down syndrome, and she was one of the first students at that time to be included in a regular classroom," said Garcia, who now lives in San Antonio. "Ms. Mireles always went above and beyond. She never saw Gabby as having less potential than any of the other students."
On Tuesday, Garcia posted a photo on Twitter of her daughter and Mireles that she said demonstrated the teacher's dedication. Garcia said she last heard from Mireles about two years ago, after a local television station did a story on her daughter's graduation from high school and her new jewelry business. Mireles would often reach out around Christmas, Garcia said, because Gabby had given her an ornament as a gift.
“She would say that she always thought about Gabby when she put up her Christmas tree,” Garcia said. “After all those years, she still cared about Gabby as a student. I just want everyone to know what kind of person she was and what kind of educator she was. I don’t want her to be forgotten.”
Mireles’ daughter Adalynn tweeted a goodbye letter to her mother, “the half that makes me whole,” she wrote.
“Mom, you are my hero,” the note read. “I keep telling myself this isn’t real. I just want to hear your voice. I want to hear you talking to our dogs with that silly voice you make so high that wakes everyone up in the morning.”
My sweet mommy , I will miss you forever. 🤍🕊 pic.twitter.com/SIxKrgX6Xi— Adalynn ✞💛 (@addy_celeste) May 25, 2022
Xavier Lopez, 10
The Lopez household was teeming with children’s laughter and music — and its source, more often than not, was 10-year-old Xavier cracking a joke or dancing cumbia.
But the giggles and grooving sounds that once filled the air were replaced Tuesday by the pain of a life cut short, Xavier's family said. The fourth grader at Robb Elementary School was among those slain during Tuesday's shooting rampage, his mother, Felicha Martinez, told The Washington Post.
"He was funny, never serious and his smile," Martinez said, her voice breaking. "That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up."
Xavier “was so full of life,” she said, and a bright light for the family. Never one to shy away from the camera, he would sway his hips, wave his arms and energetically dance in the house with his brothers — moments of glee that Martinez readily captured on her TikTok account.
In school, Xavier had a penchant for sports — favoring soccer and baseball — but also a great interest in art, his favorite subject, Martinez said.
"He loved any activity in which he could be creative and especially get to draw," Martinez said.
Just a few days shy of completing his last year of elementary school, Xavier was counting the days until he would officially move up the academic ladder into Flores Middle School in Uvalde. "He really couldn't wait to go to middle school," his mother said.
His dreams seemed so close on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School's honor roll ceremony. Martinez was there to cheer him on as Xavier's name was called to receive his certificate.
Mere hours before the tragedy, Martinez snapped a photo of Xavier. She told him she was proud and that she loved him, before hugging him goodbye. She said she did not imagine that would be the last moment she would share with her “mama’s boy.” - María Luisa Paúl
Jose Flores, 10
Jose, 10, was a fourth grader at Robb Elementary School who loved to play baseball, according to his uncle Christopher Salazar, who confirmed his nephew's death.
"He was a very happy little boy. He loved both his parents . . . and loved to laugh and have fun," Salazar said.
He said his nephew, who had two brothers and a sister, "loved going to school." On Tuesday, hours before the shooting, Jose had received an award for making the honor roll.
"He was very smart," Salazar said. "He wasn't a kid who would look for trouble." - Karina Elwood
Tess Marie Mata
Faith Mata mourned the loss of her sister Tess in a tweet that read, “My precious angel you are loved so deeply. In my eyes you are not a victim but a survivor. I love you always and past forever baby sister, may your wings soar higher then you could ever dream. Till we meet again Tess Marie, love your big siss.”
Uziyah Garcia, 10
Uziyah Garcia’s family told the Associated Press the boy was one of the children killed in the attack.
“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” his grandfather Manny Renfro said. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”
The man last saw Uziyah during spring break in San Angelo.
“We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns. Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,” Renfro said. “There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced.”
Amerie Jo Garza, 10
Just two weeks after turning 10, Amerie Jo Garza was killed in the shooting, her family told ABC News.
“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby,” her father Angel Garza wrote in a statement. “She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
Rogelio Torres, 10
The Spanish language TV channel Noticias14 identified Rogelio Torres as a victim.
“Thank you for the prayers and for trying to help find my cousin, it breaks my heart to say my Rojelio is now with the angels. I’ll forever miss you and love you my angel,” his cousin wrote on Twitter.
Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
Makenna Lee Elrod’s older sister, Kadence, remembered the fourth-grader in a tweet. She said her baby sister had “finally been found in a classroom.”
“My sweet innocent baby sister … my heart will forever break for you my love … I love you with my whole heart kenna wenna. Have fun with your angels up in heaven baby girl,” Kadence tweeted.
Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10
Family members identified Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez as one of the victims to KHOU. The Houston outlet reported that Annabelle, a third grader, was in the same classroom as her cousin, who was also killed. The second child was identified as Jackie Cazares by The New York Times.
Jackie, who had her first Communion two weeks ago, was the social one, said Polly Flores, who was Jackie’s aunt and Annabelle’s great-aunt. “She was outgoing; she always had to be the center of attention,” Flores said. “She was my little diva.” - The New York Times
Ellie Garcia, 10
Ellie Garcia’s parents — Steven Garcia and Jennifer Lugo — confirmed her death on Facebook.
“It’s hard to issue out a statement on anything right now my mind is going at 1000 miles per hour… but I do wanna send our thoughts and prayers to those who also didn’t make it home tonight!!! Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever,” Steven Lugo wrote on Facebook. “I was gonna DJ for her at her party like she wanted me too!!! Mom and Dad love you never forget that and please try and stay by our side Amor!!!! Send prayers to all UVALDE we really need it!!!!”
Her mother also mourned the loss of her daughter, writing, “My heart broken….I don’t know what to do. I feel so numb. I miss you baby!!!!”
Emily Grace Ayala, Nevaeh Bravo’s cousin, confirmed Bravo’s death on Facebook. In a post, she wrote “Thank you everyone for the prayers, our Nevaeh has been found! She is flying with the angels above. We love you Nevaeh very much princess! Please everyone continue to keep her parents and our family in your prayers.”
Eliahana Cruz Torres
ABC confirmed the death of Eliahana Cruz Torres, whom her grandfather called a “beautiful young girl with a lot of energy”.
Jailah Nicole Silguero, 11
Jailah Silguero’s mother confirmed her death in a Facebook post: “Why why why my baby… Fly high baby grandma n grandpa are with their arms wide open for baby… We’re going to miss you so much my wera Chula my lil side kick.”
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
Jayce, Jailah’s cousin, was killed in the classroom, too. In a second post on Facebook, Silguero’s mother posted a photo of her daughter and nephew with the caption, “Fly high my angels… We’re going to miss y’all so much.”
Alithia Ramirez, 10
The family of Alithia Ramirez confirmed that she was killed in the shooting, according to multiple outlets including The Guardian.
Ramirez’s father changed his Facebook profile photo to a picture of Alithia with angel wings. And in an earlier post, he wrote: “Trying to find my daughter Alithia. I called all the hospitals and nothing.”
Another teacher, Irma Garcia, was also killed, according to NBC News.
Irma Garcia taught at the school for 23 years and was once named among 19 San Antonio-area teachers as a finalist for a Trinity University prize that recognizes excellence in teaching. Garcia had four children, including Christian, who confirmed her death. She loved barbecuing with her husband and listening to music.
Her husband Joe reportedly died from a heart attack Thursday, according to Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez. They were married for 24 years.
“EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, i truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy,” Martinez tweeted.
Alexandria “Lexi” Aniyah Rubio
Lexi Rubios’ mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, confirmed she was among those slain to CNN. That morning, they had celebrated her earning the honor roll and earning a good citizen award.
“We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school,” Mata-Rubio wrote on Facebook. “We had no idea this was goodbye.”
Layla Salazar, 10
Layla Salazar’s father confirmed to the Associated Press that she was killing in the shooting. “She was just a whole lot of fun,” he said.
He said Layla loved to swim, dance to TikTok videos, and would jam to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses on the way to school.
Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10
A family member set up a GoFundMe for Maite Yuleana Rodriguez that remembered her as a “sweet, smart little girl.” Like many of other victims, she had also posed for the honor roll photos earlier in the day, before she was killed.
Material from the Associated Press and the following reporters from the Washington Post contributed to this report: Holly Bailey, Karina Elwood, Moriah Balingit, María Luisa Paúl, Beth Reinhard, Alice Crites, Jennifer Jenkins, Meryl Kornfield, Marissa Lang, Lauren Lumpkin, Monika Mathur, Razzan Nakhlawi, and Perry Stein.
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