Two days before the end of the academic year the students of Robb Elementary School wore their Sunday best for a “Footloose and Fancy” event — a prelude to a long-awaited summer of drive-in movies, lakeside barbecues and trips to amusement parks.
Tuesday morning, as 10-year-old fourth graders like Xavier Javier Lopez and Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio received honor roll certificates and other awards, a bullied loner named Salvador Ramos was home with his grandmother in Uvalde, a small, tight-knit Texas town nestled roughly midway between San Antonio and the border with Mexico.
Within hours, the little aspiring lawyers, police officers, dancers and biologists of Robb Elementary would cross paths with the high school dropout who gifted himself two AR-15 style rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition he legally purchased for his 18th birthday one week earlier. Continue
Shortly before midnight Tuesday, Kimberly Mata-Rubio wrote on Facebook that her daughter, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, had been killed in the shooting, which occurred only hours after an honor roll ceremony.
In her post, Mata-Rubio included a photo of Alexandria smiling with her certificate for straight A’s.
“My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll,” she wrote. “She also received the good citizen award. We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye.”
After the shooting, Ryan Ramirez said on Facebook that he was searching for his daughter, fourth-grader Alithia Ramirez.
On Wednesday morning, he posted a photo on Facebook of Alithia with angel wings.
Ramirez told San Antonio TV station KSAT that Alithia loved to draw and wanted to be an artist. She recently submitted a drawing to the “Doodle for Google” contest, he said.
According to the station, she was 10 years old.
“You did not deserve this my sweet baby girl,” her mother, Kimberly Garcia, wrote on Facebook. “Mommy loves you, mommy can’t sleep without you.”
Her father, Angel Garza, wrote, “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.”
Berlinda Irene Arreola told The Daily Beast that her granddaughter — who leaves behind a 3-year-old brother — was fatally wounded while trying to call 911.
“So the gunman went in and he told the children ‘You’re going to die.’ And she had her phone and she called 911,” she said. “And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her. She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood.”
The family of Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez was among many who waited for answers after the shooting. Around 7 p.m. Tuesday, her sister, Lidia Anthony Luna, wrote on Facebook that Annabell was among those killed.
“My little sister didn’t make it she’s no longer with us my poor sweet little girl,” Luna wrote. “Why god why these sweet babies who didn’t deserve this who were all happy for summer vacation.”
Family members told Houston TV station KHOU that she was 10 years old.
Adolfo Cruz told ABC News late Tuesday night that his granddaughter, Eliahana Cruz Torres, was among those killed in the shooting.
A woman who said she is Eliahana’s aunt told a reporter with KENS-TV News that the girl was a 10-year-old fourth-grader and a softball player, excited to play her final game that was scheduled the day of the shooting.
The woman, who didn’t give her name, said her sister Sandra Torres, the girl’s mother, had been looking for her child throughout the day with no luck.
“It’s not like my niece not to reach out because when she feels threatened or scared, she’s always calling on her phone. She’ll blow up somebody until somebody answers her.”
The woman said she spoke to her niece the day before the shooting about her upcoming softball game and showed a picture of Eliahana in her softball gear.
“She was very excited about her softball game today. She was kind of nervous,” her aunt said. “She was excited because they were … going to announce the ones that made it to All-Stars. And she was also saying, like, ‘What if I make it? I’m going to be so nervous.’ And I was like, ‘Girl, you got this. You’re going to be good at it. You got this.’ So she was excited.”
Fourth-grader Eliana “Ellie” Garcia, 9, was the second-eldest of five girls in her family, a helper around the house who loved “Encanto,” cheerleading and basketball, her grandparents said. She dreamed of wearing a purple dress to her quinceañera, they said, and becoming a teacher.
Grandfather Rogelio Lugo, 63, spent Tuesday driving between hospitals, then waiting at the civic center for the grim news. He watched as officials swabbed his daughter’s and son-in-law’s mouths for DNA to identify his granddaughter.
At about 9:30 p.m., he said, officials started calling parents’ names, summoning them to a back room to inform them that their children were dead.
“When you go in, you know your baby is deceased,” he recalled as he sat in his living room Wednesday, surrounded by family and friends.
One of the two adult victims in Uvalde was Eva Mireles, a fourth-grade teacher who had worked for the school district for about 17 years. Her husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a police officer in the district. He was one of several officers who responded to the shooting and were apparently shot at by the shooter, but he was not injured.
Mireles’ aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, said in a message to The Times that she was furious to lose her niece in such a “tragic” and “senseless” way. The U.S., she said, needed to act on gun laws and expand background checks.
“It’s so easy for young, mental kids to get guns and randomly shoot innocent victims,” she said. “My niece, Eva, lost her life protecting her students. It shouldn’t have to be like this: teachers, parents and students afraid to go to school or send their kids to school.”
In a post on Twitter, Mireles’ daughter described her mother as “the half that makes me whole.”
“You are so known by many now and I’m so happy that people know your name and that beautiful face of yours and they know what a hero looks like,” she wrote, adding: “My heart will forever be broken.”
“My tia did not make it,” John Martinez wrote on Twitter about his aunt, Irma Garcia, a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary. “She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom … she died a HERO. she was loved by many and will truly be missed.”
Garcia had been a teacher at Robb Elementary for 23 years. According to her school profile, she loved to “BBQ with [her] husband, listen to music, and take country cruises to Concan.”
She had been married for 24 years and was the mother of four children, the profile says.
She was “sweet, kind, loving,” Steven Martinez wrote in a GoFundMe page organized for her family. “Fun with the greatest personality.”
Fourth-grader Jackie Cazares, 10, was among those killed along with her cousin Annabell Rodriguez, according to San Antonio TV station KSAT.
“My baby girl has been taken away from my family and I,” her father, Jacinto Cazares, wrote on Facebook.
Describing his daughter as being full of life and love, he added, “It hurts us to our souls.”
Ten-year-old Jailah Nicole Silguero was killed in the shooting, her mother, Veronica Luevanos, told Univision through tears.
Luevanos said Jailah loved to dance and film videos on TikTok.
“I took her to school, but she didn’t want to go. She told her father, ‘Can I stay home?’” Luevanos said, adding that Jailah didn’t often ask to stay home. “I think she knew something would happen.”
Jailah’s cousin, 10-year-old Jayce Luevanos, was also killed in the shooting, according to Luevanos. She said her brother, Jayce‘s father, was taking his death hard.
Jayce Luevanos, 10, died in the shooting along with his cousin, Jailah Nicole Silguero, according to Jailah’s mother.
In a Facebook post, their uncle Unberto Gonzalez shared photos of both children.
“My babies going to miss them like crazy!!!,” Gonzalez wrote. “We luv y’all so much!!! I’m just lost right now!!! Fly high my beautiful Angels!!”
Christopher Salazar confirmed to the Washington Post that his 10-year-old nephew, Jose Flores, was killed in the shooting.
“I love you and I miss you,” Salazar wrote in a post on Facebook alongside photos of the boy.
In one photo, Jose can be seen grinning after catching a fish. In another, he is proudly displaying his honor roll certificate under a “Robb ’22″ banner.
Layla Salazar’s father told the Associated Press that the 10-year-old had won six races at the school’s field day.
“She was just a whole lot of fun,” Vincent Salazar said, adding that his daughter liked dancing to TikTok videos and singing along with him to the Guns N’ Roses song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” every morning on the way to school.
“It is with a heavy heart I come on here on behalf of my cousin Ana who lost her sweet baby girl in yesterday’s senseless shooting,” Raquel Silva wrote on Facebook about one of the victims, Maite Rodriguez. “Our hearts are shattered.”
Another family member shared a photo of Maite with her honor roll certificate in front of a school banner.
Her age could not immediately be confirmed.
On Tuesday, Brandon Elrod told ABC News that he was still searching for his 10-year-old daughter, Makenna.
“Pretty sad,” he said, choking back tears. “Really sad. I don’t know what this world is coming to.”
Later, a family friend said on Facebook that Makenna had been killed.
“My heart is shattered as my daughter Chloe loved her so much!!” Pilar Newberry wrote, adding: “Just a few weeks ago she got a friendship bracelet from her at the ballpark and she wears it everyday!”
Eleven-year-old Miranda Mathis’ family was searching for her after the shooting, according to her cousin, Deanna Miller.
“Please lord hear our prayers and please let these babies just be misplaced and harm free,” Miller wrote in a post on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday morning, Miller shared a photo of Miranda with angel wings and a halo.
“My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly,” she wrote.
Nevaeh Bravo’s cousin posted on social media after the shooting to ask for the public’s help locating the girl. Around 9 p.m., she wrote on Twitter: “Unfortunately my beautiful Nevaeh was one of the many victims from todays tragedy.”
“Thank you for the support and help,” she wrote. “Rest in peace my sweet girl, you didn’t deserve this.”
Nevaeh’s age could not immediately be confirmed.
“Our entire family waited almost 12 hours since the shooting to find out Rojelio Torres, my 10-year-old nephew, was killed in this tragedy,” Torres’ aunt, Precious Perez, told KSAT. “We are devastated and heartbroken. Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten.”
Tess Marie Mata was among the students killed, according to a Facebook post by her sister, Faith Mata.
“I honestly have no words just sadness, confusion, and anger,” she wrote. “I’m sad because we will never get to tag team on mom and dad again and tell each other how much we mean to each other, I’m confused because how can something like this happen to my sweet, caring, and beautiful sister, and I’m angry because a coward took you from us.”
A series of pictures accompanying the post showed Tess smiling in a baby photo, snoozing in bed, snuggling with a cat, doing the splits, flashing a peace sign and posing in front of a large heart mural.
“Sissy I miss you so much, 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,” her sister wrote.
Tess’ age could not immediately be confirmed.
“I’m grieving heavily,” said Manny Renfro, whose 10-year-old grandson, Uziyah Garcia, was among the Robb Elementary students killed.
Renfro told The Times that Uziyah and his two sisters had lived with him and his grandmother for more than five years and he “never had an ounce of trouble” out of him.
“He was the type of kid that … could get interested in anything in five minutes. Just the perfect kid, as far as I’m concerned,” Renfro said, adding that Uziyah liked football, baseball and video games.
“We had a tight relationship, me and my grandson, and I don’t have him anymore,” he said, his voice breaking with emotion. “I lost my grandson at the hands of a very evil person.”
Sergio Garcia, the boy’s father, remembered his son as a loving and gentle boy who loved karaoke, the video game Fortnite and bouncing on trampolines. The father sobbed as he remembered teaching his son how to ride a bike and playing sports together.
The boy, who doesn’t live with his father, was scheduled to spend the summer with him this week. Instead, Sergio Garcia waited to hear news about retrieving his son’s body.
“He was my world. He was my everything,” Sergio Garcia said. “Now I’m never going to get to hold him again. Never going to get to kiss him again.”
Felicha Martinez told the Washington Post that her 10-year-old son, Xavier Lopez, was killed.
“He was funny, never serious and his smile,” she said. “That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up.”
She watched him receive an honor roll certificate just hours before he was killed.