Families of 3 Uvalde shooting survivors sue school district, police, gunmakers, others

People visit a memorial outside of Robb Elementary
People visit a memorial outside of Robb Elementary
People visit a memorial outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.(Elias Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

By Lana Ferguson

The families of three students who survived the May massacre at a Uvalde elementary school filed a federal lawsuit alleging a combination of negligence, intentional choices and a “culture of noncompliance with safety protocols” led to the shooting.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and was filed Wednesday in the Western District of Texas, lists 11 defendants, including the city of Uvalde; the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District; since-fired Uvalde CISD police Chief Pete Arredondoschool principal Mandy Gutierrez; and gun companies Daniel Defense, Firequest International and Oasis Outback. The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.

The lawsuit appears to be the first filed over the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed during the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School.

“The shooter was left with free range to shoot, terrorize, and kill children and teachers for over an hour,” the lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs are the families of three minor children identified in the lawsuit only by their initials. One of the students, then a fourth-grader, was shot in his right leg and witnessed other students being shot — including his best friend, who was killed.

Another of the students, also a fourth-grader at the time, was rushed into the building after the gunman fired near where she was on the playground, the lawsuit says. The third student, a second-grader, was walking to the nurse’s office from the gym and saw the gunman firing toward the school.

The lawsuit alleges the school district was not prepared for a shooting and that police were indifferent to their roles as “protectors of students and residents of Uvalde” by not following active-shooter protocol.

“The facts … expose a culture of noncompliance with safety protocols, state-mandated school shooter training, disregard for school alerts, and deliberate indifference to the threat of criminal trespassers and school shooters leaving the children and teachers vulnerable to attack,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit details the hour-plus timeline from when the gunman was spotted approaching the school by a gym teacher to when the he was killed by U.S. Border Patrol officers. It also criticizes the actions of law-enforcement officers at the scene and claims Uvalde CISD had “history of failing to protect students against trespassers” because of security issues causing previous lockdowns.

The lawsuit also says the gun companies defendants “violated federal law by negligently entrusting their deadly weapons” to the shooter when they should have known he was likely to endanger others.

Overall, the lawsuit alleges the defendants’ actions were “intentional and done with reckless disregard for Plaintiffs’ health, well-being, safety, and lives.”

The plaintiffs asked for a jury trial and are seeking past and future economic damages, general damages, and punitive and exemplary damages.

WATCH: First video of Uvalde school shooting published

Multiple police officers stood
Multiple police officers stood
Multiple police officers stood in a hallway at Robb Elementary School armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield within 19 minutes of a gunman arriving at the campus.(Uvalde ISD / Uvalde Independent School Distri)

By Philip Jankowski

AUSTIN — For the first time since the May 24 Uvalde shooting, the public can now see portions of video from the scene, including the first images of the shooter carrying out the attack, after the Austin American-Statesmanand KVUE-TV published the footage Tuesday.

The video, abridged and edited to removed children’s screams, depicts how police amassed inside Robb Elementary School three minutes after the gunman entered but failed to take action for more than an hour, defying active shooter training that calls on law enforcement officers to take out a threat even at the cost of their own lives.

The footage also has sound of the shooter firing dozens of shots just after entering a classroom, committing a massacre that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

The video came from a hallway surveillance camera and body camera footage obtained by the two outlets. It captures dozens of officers in the hallway, some heavily armed and with body armor, helmets and protective shields.

They pointed weapons at the classroom, talked, made calls, sent texts and looked at floor plans but didn’t enter the classrooms.

Officers finally rushed into the classroom and killed the gunman 77 minutes after the first officers arrived.

“It was embarrassing to see: people on the cellphones, texting, another gentleman putting sanitizer in his hands,” Javier Cazares, father of Jackie Cazares, told NBC News after seeing the video.

“They need to give up their badge,” he said of the officers.

Tensions ran high at the Uvalde City Council’s meeting Tuesday evening, just hours after the video was published, NBC News reported.

Mayor Don McLaughlin called media outlets that published the article “chicken” and “unprofessional.” A resident from the crowd then asked McLaughlin if he felt that law enforcement officers were chickens.

The publication of the video comes as Rep. Dustin Burrows, chairman of a Texas House committee investigating the Uvalde shooting, indicated Tuesday that he would defy a local district attorney and release it to the public on Sunday after showing it to victims’ families.

After the footage was published Tuesday, Burrows said on Twitter that he was “disappointed the victim’s families and the Uvalde community’s requests to watch the video first, and not have certain images and audio of the violence, were not achieved.”

Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said he was disappointed that the video had been released before Burrows’ plan to show it to the families of Uvalde victims Sunday.

“Those most affected should have been among the first to see it,” he said in a prepared statement. “As I stated during my testimony before the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans, this video provides horrifying evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary on May 24 was an abject failure.”

A Democrat on the committee, Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso, said the report that will be released Sunday will provide context.

Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee has prevented government officials from releasing any videos, citing an ongoing investigation. Busbee did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday. A chorus of state lawmakers, including Gov. Greg Abbott, had called on her to release the video.

At a Monday meeting in Austin of the House investigative committee looking into the shooting, Burrows stressed the need for the public to see the video to answer lingering questions about why police waited more than an hour to confront the 18-year-old gunman while he was inside a classroom with children.

“The committee can tell people all day long what we saw, but it’s very different to see it for yourself,” Burrows said Monday. “We think that’s very important, and we’ll continue to put pressure on the situation and consider all options in making sure that video gets out for the public to view.”

The bipartisan panel including a former Texas Supreme Court judge has interviewed nearly 40 witnesses from Uvalde law enforcement, Uvalde schools and the Texas Department of Public Safety since it first met more than a month ago.

Embattled Uvalde schools police chief placed on leave as investigations continue

Uvalde schools police Chief Pedro

By Philip Jankowski

Uvalde schools police Chief Pedro
Uvalde schools police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo listens during a press conference at Uvalde County Fairplex after nineteen students and two teachers were killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, TX. Arredondo was placed on administrative leave late Wednesday. / Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer

AUSTIN — Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police Chief Pete Arredondo, who has faced blistering criticism for his decision to keep officers at bay while a school shooter was in a classroom with children, was placed on administrative leave late Wednesday.

The Uvalde school district Superintendent Hal Harrell announced he placed Arredondo on leave as questions continue to swirl about the chief’s response to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

“Today, I am still without details of the investigations being conducted by various agencies,” Harrell said in a statement. “Because of the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigations, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective on this date.”

Arredondo was the scene commander for the police response to the shooting. Since the shooting almost a month ago, troubling revelations about his decisions have emerged on a near daily basis and created frustration and trauma among a community that continues to grieve. On Tuesday, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety and a mass shootings expert said Arredondo’s decisions cost lives.

On top of calls for him to resign from the school police force, Arredondo has also faced growing calls for him to resign from the Uvalde City Council. He won election to the position on May 7 and was sworn in to the council in secret.

Pete Arredondo
Pete Arredondo, chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (right), stands with Uvalde police officers during a press conference outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, May 26, 2022. / Photo Credit: Elias Valverde II / Staff Photographer

At a Tuesday night meeting of the Uvalde City Council, Uvalde residents, including family members of slain victims, called for Arredondo to be removed from the board. They urged the council to disapprove Arredondo’s handwritten request for a leave from attending meetings to pave the way for his removal should he be absent from three consecutive meetings.

Jasmine Cazares, sister of Uvalde shooting victim Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 9, and cousin of Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, said Arredondo should be accountable for his actions, and that he does not deserve to be on the council. “Most of us agree the respectful thing to do is resign and step down,” she said.

“Was this oath upheld on May 24?” she continued. “It wasn’t and I want you all to know. Remember my face. I remember hers. Because we will be here at every city council meeting until something changes.”

The council unanimously voted against Arredondo’s request for a leave of absence. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said that Tuesday’s meeting marked the first of three required absences before the council could have him removed.

The lack of information from the agencies investigating the shooting, including the Justice Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Uvalde County district attorney’s office, led the state senator representing Uvalde to sue the DPS on Wednesday.

Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, accused DPS of a coverup and violating the Texas Public Information Act for not responding to an open records request his office filed on May 31.

“In the wake of this massacre, the State of Texas has completely failed to provide the community of Uvalde with truthful answers,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

In Uvalde, the city’s mayor bristled about how senators in Austin were getting access to details from DPS chief Steven McCraw that were not provided to him. McLaughlin referred to a Senate hearing on the shooting that continued Wednesday as the “Bozo the Clown show,” during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Mental health

At the Capitol, the second day of Senate hearings continued with a focus on mental health.

The lead witnesses for the hearing were Dr. Laurel Williams and Dr. David Lakey with the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium. The consortium was created in the 2019 Texas school safety bill, Senate Bill 11.

Even as the consortium has been rapidly expanded in the three years since its inception, only about 40% of the state’s schools are covered by its mental health outreach programs that include free telemedicine sessions for students that might be experiencing mental health issues.

It has yet to reach Uvalde, a city of 15,217, that is experiencing many of the problems that smaller, rural communities face with access to mental health care. The consortium had yet to extend its services to Uvalde Independent School District, and Lakey said the amount of vacant positions at the local mental health authority is above average.

“It was substantial vacancies,” Lakey said of Uvalde. The average rate of vacancies, “statewide is about 30%, and they were above that. Not because they weren’t trying. They were trying to recruit people as best they could. It is just hard to recruit in some of these communities.”

Numerous suggestions were made to improve access to mental health services, including creating more fellowship programs throughout the state. Those programs bring new professionals to communities where they often stay.

“They’re picking fellowships based on where they think they want to live,” Williams said.

Gov. Greg Abbott focused on mental health in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, telling reporters that the state is in a mental health crisis and making addressing Texans’ mental health a main charge of committees in the Texas Senate and House that he requested to review the Uvalde shooting for policy recommendations.

Included in the governor’s charges was firearm safety. But Republicans, so far, have shown little support for any new firearm restrictions or even revisiting modest gun control proposals that came out of the Santa Fe High School shooting policy roundtable, such as red flag laws and closing loopholes in background checks.

The committee’s chair, Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, ended the meeting hinting that the two-day hearing likely was the last time the Senate Uvalde committee will meet in public. He instructed its members, eight Republicans and three Democrats, to make policy suggestions that would be circulated among members until a final report is prepared.

In the Texas House, the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee meets jointly with the Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety on Thursday to discuss mass shootings. They will take up the implementation of Senate Bill 11, firearm safety and law enforcement response to mass shootings Thursday.

Garland ISD Highlights Success of SRO Program after Texas School Massacre

Texas School Massacre

By Sylvia Dunnavant Hines

GISD Trustee Johnny Beach
GISD Trustee Johnny Beach

The nation turned its eyes to Texas after the midday massacre last week at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde left 19 students and two teachers dead in the course of an hour.
Texas remains the center of attention as President Joe and First Lady Jill Biden visited Uvalde over the weekend and this week the families began having funerals and memorial services for their loved ones.

Although there appears to be more questions than answers regarding school safety with the launch of an investigation into how the shooter was handled, Scott LeMay, the mayor of Garland, is relying on efforts made by their School Resource Officer (SRO) program to continue providing safety for Garland ISD students.

Garland Mayor Scott LeMay
Garland Mayor Scott LeMay

“I have high confidence in our SRO program and in the way that it has operated over the years,” said LeMay. “It is not just about putting an officer at a school. These officers are embedded in the schools. They know the kids, they know the teachers, and they know the parents. They build relationships with all of them.”

It makes a difference for Garland ISD, which is one of the largest school districts in Dallas County with approximately 56,000 students from 72 campuses; serving the communities of Garland, Rowlett and Sachse.

He added, “You can’t really put a value on this service. These aren’t just police officers stationed at the school, they work with the campus administration as well as with the overall school district.”

Recent federal data shows that approximately 91 percent of SROs are armed, and most carry other restraints as well.

Although nationally the SRO programs began in the 1950s, Garland ISD implemented the program in 1992.

According to former Garland Mayor Ronald Jones, the SRO programs are designed to enhance school safety capabilities.

“I know for a fact that they work when implemented properly,” said Jones, who served three terms. “We started out on a smaller scale and continued to improve the program until it evolved into the program that it is today.

“Even though every school districts has its own security program, in our case it is a partnership between the city of Garland and Garland ISD,”.

With a commitment to keep schools in his district safe, LeMay said that funding for the current SRO program is split between the City of Garland and Garland ISD. This has been the funding structure since the program began.

Former Garland Mayor Ronald Jones
Former Garland Mayor Ronald Jones

“Our SRO program offers safety and security at each one of our 72 campuses,” explained Garland ISD board trustee Johnny Beach. “With our SRO officers, we have boots on the ground on our campuses. This provides safety so that when our children come to school, they know that we have someone that has their eyes and ears on the hallways and around the school building in a time of need.”

According to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California, there have been 540 school shooting incidents nationally since 2012; with Texas posting the highest number of incidents in the past 10 years.

Despite those numbers LeMay said he is “very confident” that Garland schools are safe. “Our schools are as safe as we can make them. That being said, I have had conversations with our Chief of Police regarding school safety.

“There is no way that you can prepare for every random act of violence. It is very difficult when it is a lone wolf situation. Therefore, you can’t fortify schools for all absolute situations. Yet, if you follow procedures and protocols, you can make it exceptionally safe,” he added.

And safety is exactly what Trustee Beach says he wants, adding that his heart was broken with grief after hearing about the shooting in the elementary school in Uvalde.

“Our prayers go out to the people of Uvalde. We are here to support them in any way that we can,” said Beach. “Indeed, this is a tragedy that we don’t ever want to see again, anywhere,”

21 minutes of silence for 21 victims: We remember Uvalde

Katrice Hardy

Katrice Hardy
Executive Editor
The Dallas Morning News

Katrice Hardy
Katrice Hardy

We’re asking you to silence your social accounts Tuesday from noon until 12:21p.m. so the people of Uvalde can feel our support from all over Texas.

They wore fun shoes and fancy outfits as they celebrated the last few days of fourth grade at Robb Elementary School.

Summer was among them and so was the promise of more time to tumble, dance, play ball and swim.

On Tuesday, just after end-of-year awards were given, a gunman burst into the back door and shot and killed 19 students and two teachers who had spent the year protecting, nurturing and opening up the minds of their fourth graders.

So many of us are grieving for the city of Uvalde, for the moms and dads and sisters and brothers, for husbands and daughters of those who will never again hear the laughter of their loved ones. We can’t imagine the pain coursing through this small community in our state that terror invaded this week.

And we keep asking, how can we help?

The Dallas Morning News is asking each of you to join us in a moment of silence Tuesday at noon for 21 minutes to pay tribute and remembrance to the 21 children and teachers who are no longer with us.

We’re asking you to join us with most of our fellow Texas media friends to silence your social accounts from noon until 12:21 p.m. so the people of Uvalde can feel our support from all over Texas.

As Todd Davis, a senior audience journalist at The News said, there’s been a lot of turmoil and debating about what unfolded.

Tuesday is a time to focus on the families and friends and residents of Uvalde, to lift them in prayers if you so desire, to send them positive thoughts, to remember 19 children and 2 teachers.

To reflect, with us we hope, on just them:

Teachers Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia.

Uziyah Garcia and Xavier James Lopez.

Amerie Jo Garza, Rojelio Torres and Jacklyn “Jackie” Cazares.

Annabelle Rodriguez and Jaliah Nicole Silguero.

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, Makenna Lee Elrod and Alithia Ramirez.

Ellie Garcia and Maranda Mathis.

Tess Maria Mata, Jose Flores and Nevaeh Bravo.

Alexandria “Lexi” Aniyah Rubio and Maite Yuleana Rodriguez.

Eliahana “Elijah” Cruz Torres and Layla Salazar.

The I Messenger Media, LLC. family (Texas Metro News, Garland Journal, Metro News, I Messenger and Cheryl’s World), is joining with The Dallas Morning News in silencing our social media accounts Tuesday at noon. Please join with us.

Cheryl Smith
Publisher

Remembering the Uvalde school shooting victims

Women hug outside of the SSGT Willie
Women hug outside of the SSGT Willie
Women hug outside of the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center where families were reunited after fourteen children and one teacher were killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, TX. (Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

By Maggie ProsserJamie Landers and Kelli Smith

Families and a rallying community were mourning Wednesday after a gunman killed 21 people — including 19 children — at a Uvalde elementary school.

Tuesday’s attack at the roughly 600-student Robb Elementary School marks the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.

The two teachers killed co-taught for five years. The children, members of the same fourth-grade class, were in their last week of school. Tuesday was awards day, and the students were encouraged to wear a nice outfit and fun shoes as part of a “footloose and fancy” theme.

One boy looked forward to a summer of swimming. One girl loved tumbling. Another dreamed of becoming an artist. At least two sets of cousins were in the class.

Eva Mireles

A relative remembered 44-year-old Eva Mireles as a loving mother and wife. Mireles was a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary School.

Eva Mireles
Eva Mireles was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

According to her biography on the school’s website, Mireles was an educator for 17 years. Her family included a school district police officer, her daughter and three “furry friends.” Mireles enjoyed running and hiking.

Mireles’ daughter, Adalynn, posted on Twitter early Wednesday: “I will forever say your name, Eva Mireles, 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary who selflessly jumped in front of her students to save their lives. My heart will forever be broken. My bestfriend, my twin, was taken from me.”

“She was adventurous. I would definitely say those wonderful things about her. She is definitely going to be very missed,” said relative Amber Ybarra, 34, of San Antonio.

Ybarra prepared to give blood for the wounded and pondered how no one noticed trouble with the shooter in time to stop him.

“To me, it’s more about raising mental health awareness,” Ybarra, who also attended Robb Elementary School, said. “Someone could possibly have seen a dramatic change before something like this happened.”

Irma Garcia

Irma Garcia, a fourth-grade teacher, was also killed in the gunfire, her son told NBC News. The San Antonio Express-News said she was 49.

Irma Garcia
Irma Garcia was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Garcia was in her 23rd year of teaching at Robb, according to her biography on the school’s website.

In 2019, Garcia was named a finalist for the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching, awarded to exceptional teachers in the San Antonio area by Trinity University.

A GoFundMe page set up for her family and funeral expenses described the longtime educator and mother of four as “sweet, kind, loving.” The GoFundMe raised more than $30,000 in less than 12 hours.

“She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom,” the donation page says. “She was a hero. She was loved by many and will truly be missed.”

Uziyah Garcia

Manny Renfro said his grandson Uziyah Garcia, 8, was among those killed. There are varying reports of Uziyah’s age; the Express-News reported he was 9.

TCORRECTS AGE TO 10, NOT 8
TCORRECTS AGE TO 10, NOT 8 – his March 2022 photo provided by Manny Renfro shows his grandson, Uziyah Garcia, while on spring break in San Angelo, Texas. The 10-year-old was among those killed in Tuesday’s shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas. (Manny Renfro via AP)(Manny Renfro / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Renfro said. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”

Renfro said Uziyah last visited him in San Angelo during spring break.

“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.”

Xavier Javier Lopez

Xavier Javier Lopez had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming, his cousin, 54-year-old Lisa Garza of Arlington said.

Xavier Javier Lopez
Xavier Javier Lopez was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,” Garza said. “He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.”

Garza lamented what she described as lax gun laws.

“We should have more restrictions, especially if these kids are not in their right state of mind and all they want to do is just hurt people, especially innocent children going to the schools,” she said.

Amerie Jo Garza

Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was photographed Tuesday morning holding an “A and B” honor roll certificate she received hours before she died.

Amerie Jo Garza
Amerie Jo Garza was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Her grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, toldThe Daily Beast that Amerie “was shot and killed for trying to call 911; she died a hero trying to get help for her and her fellow classmates.”

Amerie, she said, was “super-outgoing” and a “teacher’s pet” who liked doing well in school.

“My little love is now flying high with the angels above,” her father, Angel Garza, wrote on Facebook. “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.”

“I will never be happy or complete again,” he added Wednesday morning.

Rojelio Torres

Federico Torres, the father of 10-year-old Rojelio Torres, told a KHOU-TV reporter he was sent back and forth across Uvalde as he tried to find answers Tuesday about his son.

Rojelio Torres
Rojelio Torres was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“They sent us to the hospital, to the civic center, to the hospital and here again, nothing, not even in San Antonio,” Torres said. “They don’t tell us anything, only a photo, wait, hope that everything is well.”

But after almost 12 hours, Precious Perez, Rojelio’s aunt, said the family found out Rojelio had been killed.

“We are devastated and heartbroken,” Perez said. “Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten.”

In a family photo, Rojelio is wearing a red Robb Elementary T-shirt that reads “difference maker.”

Jacklyn “Jackie” Cazares

Polly Flores told ABC News her 10-year-old nieces, Jackie Cazares and Annabelle Rodriguez, were among those killed.

Jackie Cazares
Jackie Cazares was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Jackie’s father, Jacinto Cazares, wrote on Facebook early Wednesday: “My baby girl has been taken away from my family and I. … Taken out of arms and lives, in this freaking cowardly way, so young, so innocent, full of life and love. It hurts us to our souls.”

Annabelle Rodriguez

Annabelle Rodriguez was in the same fourth grade class as her cousin Jackie, ABC News reported.

Annabelle Rodriguez
Annabelle Rodriguez was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

A photo of Annabelle posted on social media showed her holding an honor roll and music certificate.

“Why god why these sweet babies who didn’t deserve this, (they) were all happy for summer vacation,” her older sister Lidia Anthony Luna wrote on Facebook.

Jaliah Nicole Silguero

Jaliah Nicole Silguero, 11, didn’t want to go to classes Tuesday, although she normally liked school, her mother Veronica Luevanos told Univision. She said Jaliah had asked her dad if she could stay in the house.

Cousins Jaliah Nicole Silguero (left) and Jayce Carmelo Luevanos (right)
Cousins Jaliah Nicole Silguero (left) and Jayce Carmelo Luevanos (right) were fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“I think she knew something was going to happen,” Veronica Luevanos said in Spanish between sobs.

A photo of Jaliah circulating online shows her smiling at the camera with large square glasses and a brown braid falling over one shoulder. The words “Game day” were scrawled across the top of the photo with a basketball emoji.

Another photo shared online by her mother showed the 11-year-old in a black “Turkey Trot 2021″ t-shirt. She was holding up a medal with a small smile as she looked into the camera.

“I’m heartbroken, my baby I love you so much,” her mother wrote in a Facebook post. “don’t ever forget [to] watch over me daddy and your sisters and big bro. fly high baby girl.”

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10, was Jaliah’s cousin, according to family members.

A few hours after the shooting, family members shared photos of Jaliah and Jayce on Facebook with pleas for help finding them.Veronica Luevanos posted a collage of two side-by-side photos of Jaliah and Jayce with the caption “Fly high my angels. We’re going to miss yall so much.”

She later told Univision that her family was taking the news hard. A GoFundMe organized for Jayce’s parents said relatives “need as much help as possible in these terrible times.” It had raised more than $6,000 in four hours.

“Please help us put sweet Jayce to rest,” it was titled.

Makenna Lee Elrod

Makenna Lee Elrod, 10, loved tumbling, and in a photo she wore a bright pink cheer uniform, with a matching pink bow around her long blonde ponytail.

Makenna Lee Elrod
Makenna Lee Elrod was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Pilar Newberry, whose daughter, Chloe, was in a tumbling class with Makenna, said the two girls were excited about becoming friends. They recently gave each other friendship bracelets.

“Sweet Makenna Rest in Paradise!!” Newberry wrote on Facebook. “My heart is shattered as my daughter Chloe loved her so much!!”

My baby sister has finally been found in a classroom…thank you for everyone sending their love to my family and I 🤍 All I ask is that you hug your loved ones tonight and tell them you love them, you never know when you won’t have the chance to anymore#EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/1dKuIwdav7— kadence elizabeth (@kkadence_) May 25, 2022

Her father, Brandon Elrod, told KTRK-TV Tuesday afternoon he had been waiting for hours and feared “she may not be alive.”

“It’s pretty sad what this world’s coming to,” he said.

Alithia Ramirez

Alithia Ramirez turned 10 at the end of April. Her father, Ryan Ramirez, posted a photo of her online April 28 with the caption “Happy Birthday to my baby. 10!!!!!”

Alithia Ramirez
Alithia Ramirez was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

In the photo, she’s wearing jean shorts and a tie dye t-shirt with the words “Peace out Single Digits #I’m10.” She had her hands behind her back as she smiled up at the camera. A pink “Birthday Girl” ribbon is attached to the bottom of her shorts.

Her father shared that same photo online Tuesday evening while asking for help. “Trying to find my daughter Alithia,” he wrote. “I Called all the hospitals and nothing.”

“I’m just confused and worried and I’m trying to find out where my baby’s at,” Ramirez told KTRK-TV (ABC13), adding that Alithia was in the fourth grade.

Wednesday morning, he changed his Facebook profile picture to the same photo of her in the birthday shirt, but there were photoshopped angel wings behind Alithia’s back. KSAT 12 reported that she loved to draw and had wanted to be an artist.

Ellie Garcia

Wednesday afternoon, 10-year-old Ellie Garcia’s father, Steven Garcia, posted photos of his daughter grinning in a basketball jersey, #21, and holding a basketball and trophy: “The happiest day of her life…,” the post said.

Ellie García
This undated handout photo provided by Siria Arizmendi shows her niece, Ellie García, 10. García is among those killed in Tuesday, May 24, 2022, shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (Siria Arizmendi via AP)(Siria Arizmendi / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Ellie’s last name has also been reported as Lugo.

Steven Garcia also posted a TikTok video of Ellie talking about God. In the video, she said, “Jesus, he died for us, so when we die we’ll be up there with Him.”

Her father said of his daughter, “Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever.”

”She was very happy and very outgoing,” her aunt Siria Arizmendi said Wednesday. “She loved to dance and play sports. She was big into family, enjoyed being with the family.”

Just after midnight Wednesday, as thunderstorms battered most of the state, Steven Garcia took to Facebook to say: “The rain shows me you made it…. Home!!! I love you forever baby!!!”

Arizmendi also spoke angrily, through tears, about how the shooter managed to get a gun.

“It’s just difficult to understand or to put into words,” she said. “I just don’t know how people can sell that type of a gun to a kid 18 years old. What is he going to use it for but for that purpose?”

The Hillsboro Sports Association announced on Facebook it would be accepting donations for the family. The sports association is also donating $2,500, according to the post.

Miranda Mathis

Miranda Mathis’ family had searched for her for hours before her cousin confirmed her death on Facebook. The 11-year-old is seen in a photo shared online in a pink shirt with wide blue eyes and a closed-mouth smile.

Miranda Mathis
Miranda Mathis was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly I’m so sorry this happen to u baby please keep my family in your prayers,” Deanna Miller wrote.

Tess Marie Mata

Tess Marie Mata, 10, used to practice softball outside with her older sister, Faith. She was sassy and the two used to “tag team on mom and dad,” Faith Mata wrote in a Facebook post addressed to her sister.

“Sissy I miss you so much,” Faith Mata said. “I just want to hold you and tell you how pretty you are, I want to take you outside and practice softball, I want to go on one last family vacation, I want to hear your contagious laugh, and I want you to hear me tell you how much I love you.

Tess Marie Mata
Tess Marie Mata (left) was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. She’s pictured here with her sister, Faith Mata.

“Tessy mom, dad, and I won’t be the same without you but we are comforted knowing you are waiting for us up in heaven and have a spot for us.”

The post included multiple photos of Tess Marie, one of which showed her smiling in front of a giant red heart painted on a cream wall, her face framed by clear glasses. Her long brown hair fell past her shoulders. Others showed her posing with family and her sister behind a giant “Texas State University” ring and in front of balloons. Another showed her lying back on a bed with a large pink plushie next to her head as she slept.

Her sister wrote on Twitter that Tess Marie was a precious angel who was loved deeply.

“In my eyes you are not a victim but a survivor,” Faith said. “I love you always and past forever baby sister, may your wings soar higher then you could ever dream.”

Jose Flores

Jose Flores, 10, received an award for making the honor roll just hours before the shooting, his uncle Christopher Salazar told The Washington Post. Salazar shared a photo with the newspaper of the smiling fourth-grader holding up his certificate.

Jose Flores
Jose Flores was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“He was a very happy little boy,” Salazar said. “He loved both his parents … and loved to laugh and have fun.”

Salazar added: He “was very smart.”

Nevaeh Bravo

Nevaeh Bravo’s cousin wrote late Tuesday on Facebook that the 4th-grader was “flying with the angels above.” Hours earlier, she’d posted online asking for any updates on Bravo’s whereabouts and attached a photo of the smiling 10-year-old in a blue blouse.

Nevaeh Bravo
Nevaeh Bravo was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“We love you Nevaeh very much princess,” Emily Grace Ayala wrote. “Please everyone continue to keep her parents and our family in your prayers.”

Austin Ayala, another cousin, told The Washington Post that loved ones were trying to understand why someone would kill a girl who ”put a smile on everyone’s faces.”

Alexandria “Lexi” Aniyah Rubio

Lexi Rubio, 10, received an all-A honor roll certificate and a “good citizen” award Tuesday.

Alexandria Lexi Aniyah Rubio
Alexandria Lexi Aniyah Rubio was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school,” her mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, wrote on Facebook. “We had no idea this was goodbye.”

Her cousin, Briana Mata, organized a GoFundMe for the family. Mata called Lexi her “little all star.” She played softball.

“She was such a bright light in everyone’s life and was a badass ball player,” Mata wrote. “You left this world way too soon, and you will forever be missed. We shared the love of the game ,and I will forever miss my biggest fan.”

Her coach, Kylie Rae, tweeted Tuesday night Lexi “lost her life today before it even started.”

“My short stop,” she wrote. “Lexi you and your smile will be truly missed. Keep swinging for the fences baby girl.”

Maite Yuleana Rodriguez

A picture of Maite circulating social media showed her posing for a photo holding an honor roll and “‘Paw’-Some” certificate. The Express-News reported she was 10.

Maite Yuleana
Maite Yuleana Rodriguez was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

In a GoFundMe organized for her parents, a cousin of Maite’s mother said it was “with a heavy heart” they announced the death of “this sweet, smart little girl.” The donation fund featured a picture of Maite smiling in a red plaid dress.

“Maite Rodriguez we love you.”

Eliahana “Elijah” Cruz Torres
Eliahana Elijah Cruz Torres
Eliahana Elijah Cruz Torres was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Elijah Cruz Torres, 10, was supposed to play her last softball game of the season Tuesday.

“She was very excited about her softball game today. She was kind of nervous,” her aunt posted on a Facebook page called Softball is for Girls. “I talked to her last night and she was kind of nervous.”

The girls who made the All-Star Team were supposed to be announced, and Elijah was wondering if she made it.

Her great-grandfather, 69-year-old Adolfo Cruz, told ABC News she was a “beautiful young girl with a lot of energy.”

Layla Salazar

Layla Salazar, 10, loved to swim and dance to videos on TikTok, her father, Vincent Salazar said.

Layla Salazar
Layla Salazar was fatally shot Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

She won six races at the school’s field day, and Salazar posted a photo of Layla showing off two blue ribbons on Facebook.

Each morning when he drove her to school, Salazar posted he and Layla would “jam” to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses. She was looking forward to seeing the new Marvel movie, Thor: Love and Thunder.

“Yesterday we lost our heart (and) our whole world,” he wrote. “We Love you Baby girl Daddy is sorry I wasn’t there to protect you when you needed me the most we Love you so much fly high my little angel fly high…”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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