Nineteen children and two teachers were on the brink of celebrating the end of the school year at Robb Elementary School when a gunman came in and opened fire, stealing their lives and devastating a nation.
For hours, families waited in agony to learn whether their loved ones had survived Tuesday’s attack in Uvalde, Texas.
Relatives embarked on the grim task of providing DNA swabs to help investigators determine whether their family member was among the victims.
As of Wednesday morning, at least three families said they received devastating news. Here’s what relatives want everyone to remember about the people they lost:
Amerie Jo Garza
For seven hours, Angel Garza scrambled to find his 10-year-old daughter, Amerie Jo. He pleaded for the public’s help on Facebook.
“I don’t ask for much or hardly even post on here but please It’s been seven hours and I still haven’t heard anything on my love,” Garza wrote. “Please help me find my daughter.”
On Wednesday morning, Garza gave a heartbreaking update.
“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby. She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above,” Garza posted.
“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.”
A fourth-grade teacher, Eva Mireles, was also killed at the school, her aunt Lydia Martinez Delgado told CNN.
Delgado never imagined such a tragedy would hit her family, she told CNN affiliate KSAT.
“I’m furious that these shooting(s) continue,” the aunt told KSAT. “These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all. This is … my hometown, a small community of less than 20,000.”
Mireles’ had been an educator for 17 years. In her off time, she enjoyed running, hiking, biking and being with her family, according to her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s website.
Just hours before he was killed, 10-year-old Xavier Lopez was lauded at Robb Elementary’s honor roll ceremony, his mother, Felicha Martinez, told The Washington Post.
Martinez took a photo of her fourth-grader and told him she was proud of him and loved him. That was the last moment she was to share with her “mama’s boy.”
“He was funny, never serious and his smile,” Felicha Martinez told the Post, her voice breaking. “That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up.”
Just a few days shy of completing his last year of elementary school, Xavier was counting down to his official move up the academic ladder into Flores Middle School in Uvalde, his mother told the Post.
“He really couldn’t wait to go to middle school,” she said.