In one of the most horrifying disasters in the nation’s history, 2 teachers and 19 children were killed after a shooter opened fire in a Texas elementary school on Tuesday — the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history.
The children, who were largely in fourth grade, were fatally shot in the same classroom just days before summer vacation would have begun.
Among the victims were cousins whose relatives struggled to comprehend the loss of two young lives from within the family. Many of the children had posed for their honor roll photos just before the shooting, and pictures of their beaming and grinning faces holding up their certificates were shared all over social media. Some children had dreamed of becoming artists and some loved baseball. The oldest victims among the children were 11 years old.
Officials have not identified the victims, but they were mourned online in devastating social media tributes by their families. The school, Robb Elementary in Uvalde, has opened a memorial fund in their honor.
A beloved fourth-grade teacher, Eva Mireles, 44, loved running, biking, and hiking. She had been teaching for 17 years, and her husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a police officer at Robb Elementary.
Mireles’ daughter, Adalynn, called her “the half that makes me whole” in a heartfelt note she shared on Twitter.
“I just want to hear your voice,” Adalynn wrote. “I want to hear you talking to our dogs with that silly voice you make … I want to annoy you and wake you up from naps just so you can check on my chicken and make sure I didn’t undercook it. I want to sing karaoke with you and hear you sing ‘Shine bright like a diamond!’ in your loudest voice. I want to fight with you for the stupidest things and then laugh with you after.
“I want everything back,” she continued. “I want you to come back to me, Mom. I miss you more than words can explain.”
Irma Garcia, 48, also taught fourth grade, coteaching language arts and social studies with Mireles. She had worked at the school for over 20 years.
Married to her high school sweetheart, Garcia was the mother of four children, whose ages range from 9 to 20. “Being a wife, mother, and teacher have been my greatest accomplishments,” she wrote in her profile.
Her eldest son, Christian Garcia, told local outlets that a friend in law enforcement said she was found attempting to shield her students from the gunfire. One of her nephews tweeted that Garcia was a “hero” and was “loved by many and will truly be missed.”
“My Tia did not make it, she sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom,” he wrote on Twitter. “I beg of you to keep my family, including all of her family, in y’all’s prayers.”
Xavier, 10, was one of the first confirmed victims. He had been at an awards ceremony with his mother hours earlier. The family organized a fundraising campaign to carry on funeral expenses.
“It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that we have to create this fundraiser for our cousin,” his family wrote on GoFundMe, which has raised more than $80,000. His mother remembered Xavier as a “sweet” and “playful” boy.
Amerie Jo Garza
Amerie Garza, 10, was in the fourth grade and celebrated her birthday earlier in May. She was on the honor roll and had received a certificate in school for her academic excellence, seen in photos shared on Facebook with her beaming as she held up her certificate at school next to her mother. Amerie's grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, remembered her as a “super outgoing” girl. According to Arreola, Amerie was wounded while calling 911.
Amerie's father confirmed his daughter was among the victims. He had been aiming to gather information about his child on social media by sharing photos of her. “Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby. She’s been found,” he posted on Facebook around midnight. “My little love is now flying high with the angels above.”
A GoFundMe has been created for her funeral. “Amerie was such a beautiful soul,” the description read. “She touched everyone’s hearts around her and she lit up every room she walked into.”
Nevaeh Bravo, 10, was in the fourth grade. “Our Nevaeh has been found!” her cousin Emily Ayala wrote on Facebook. “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.”
Ayala also shared a photo of Nevaeh, smiling and wearing a ruffled blue dress. In a Facebook post, one of her family members said she “did not deserve this, nor anyone else.”
“You will always be remembered, sweet girl,” they wrote.
Tess Marie Mata
Tess,10, was remembered by her big sister, Faith Mata, who had initially posted an appeal on Facebook searching for Tess as the tragedy unfolded. Mata later confirmed that the fourth-grader had been killed.
“My precious angel you are loved so deeply. In my eyes you are not a victim but a survivor,” Mata wrote in a tweet. In an extended tribute, Mata described her sister as “sassy” with a “contagious laugh” and shared that the two enjoyed playing softball together.
“You were a light that lit up every room you walked into,” wrote softball coach Kylie Sendejo, who shared that Tess had ambitions to follow in her big sister’s footsteps and play second base.
“Tess you are a rockstar and I’ll always remember you as one of my little players,” Sendejo wrote.
A GoFundMe created by Mata has raised more than $15,000.
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
Alexandria, 10, was confirmed as one of the victims by her mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, who remembered her “beautiful” and “smart” daughter.
Mata-Rubio was at the school earlier that day to watch Alexandria named as part of the honor roll and receive a good citizen award.
“We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye,” her mother wrote.
Uziyah, 10, was identified as one of the victims of Tuesday's school shooting by relatives. He had recently visited his grandfather in San Angelo over spring break, and the man told a local news outlet that his grandson was a talented football player.
“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Manny Renfro said. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.
“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.”
Rojelio, 10, was also a fourth-grader. A relative confirmed his identity over social media.
“It breaks my heart to say my Rojelio is now with the angels,” his cousin Eva wrote on Twitter. Rojelio's father confirmed the death of his son after taking a DNA test. A photo of Rojelio shared on social media showed him wearing a Robb Elementary T-shirt that read “difference maker.”
Makenna Lee Elrod
Makenna, 10, was remembered by her older sister, Kadence, in a Twitter tribute. “My heart will break forever for you my love,” she wrote, confirming that her “sweet innocent baby sister” had been found dead in a classroom. Makenna was in the fourth grade.
“I love you with my whole heart keena wenna ❤️ have fun with your angels up in heaven baby girl,” Kadence wrote. “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.”
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos
Heartbreakingly, two sets of cousins were among the children killed. Jayce Luevanos, 10, was classmates with his cousin Jailah Silguero.
“Fly high my angels. We're going to miss yall so much,” his aunt, Veronica Luevanos, posted on Facebook, sharing side-by-side photos of Jayce and her daughter Jailah.
Jailah Nicole Silguero
Jailah was 11 years old. Her mother said she was “heartbroken” in a Facebook post on Wednesday, writing, “my baby I love u so much mamas don't ever forget that watch over me daddy and your sisters and big bro.” She shared a Snapchat photo of Jalilah at the local high school on game day, smiling at the camera while wearing braids and glasses.
A GoFundMe set up by a family friend said Jailah was a “delighted, energetic, lovely little girl that loved to make TikTok videos for friends and family.”
Alithia Ramirez had just turned 10 last month, according to a celebratory post her father shared on Facebook at the time. “[Peace] out single digits, #I’m 10,” her birthday shirt read. Following her death, her parents reposted the same photo from her birthday edited with angel wings.
Alithia, who loved drawing, wanted to be an artist when she grew up, her father Ryan Ramirez told KSAT 12 News. She had recently sent in her drawing to the Doodle for Google contest, he said.
Ellie Garcia, 10, is survived by her mother and father, who shared the devastation at the loss of their daughter on social media. “I feel so numb,” her mother, Jennifer Lugo, said in a Facebook post, sharing a photo of Ellie at her First Communion. “I miss you baby.”
Ellie's grandfather, Rogelio Lugo, told the Los Angeles Times that she was the second eldest of five daughters and wanted to wear a purple dress to her quinceñera.
According to her family, she liked cheerleading and basketball and was going to get leggings and Legos for her birthday. Rogelio last saw his granddaughter on Sunday and said she liked to help out around the house, making tostadas and chalupas, mowing the lawn, and filming TikToks.
“The rain shows me you made it…. Home,” Ellie's father said in a Facebook post after learning of his daughter's death. “I love you forever baby!!!”
Annabell Guadalupe Rodríguez
Annabell, 10, was in the same classroom as her cousin Jacklyn Cazares when they were both killed in Robb Elementary. She was confirmed as one of the victims by her aunt Polly Flores.
Her father previously told a local news outlet on Tuesday afternoon that he was looking for answers on the location of his child. “They're not letting us in at the hospital right now so we don't know where to go,” he said at the time.
In a photo provided by family to the media, Annabell was seen holding a certificate for music and honor roll under a sparkly background that read, “Robb 22."
Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares
Jacklyn, 10, was in fourth grade. Her father Jacinto Cazares posted a tribute to her on Facebook.
“My babygirl will always be with us and those she has touched,” he wrote. “May your passing not be in vain, something will be done, I promised you. Be in peace with the rest of the angels, sweetheart. Daddy, Mom,Sister, Brother and the whole family are going to miss you forever. Baby girl we all love you with all our hearts. Rest in peace, my Babygirl.”
Jacklyn recently sent off her older sister to prom. She was killed alongside her cousin, Annabell Guadalupe Rodríguez.
Jose, 10, loved playing baseball, according to his uncle Christopher Salazar.
“He was a very happy little boy. He loved both his parents … and loved to laugh and have fun,” Salazar told the Washington Post.
He described his nephew as a smart and happy child. “He wasn’t a kid who would look for trouble," Salazar said.
Jose had received an award for making the honor roll this year. A photo showed him grinning widely as he held up the certificate. Flores’ cousin, Joevanni Gomez, also attended Robb Elementary but survived the shooting.
Miranda, 11, attended the same school as her brother. He survived the shooting, but she was killed in her classroom, family members told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“My sweet baby cousin, we loved you dearly,” her relative wrote in a Facebook post. “I'm so sorry this happened to you.”
Eliahna, 10, was confirmed by her family to be one of those killed in the shooting. Her family told ABC News that she was “a beautiful young girl with a lot of energy.”
Eliahna played softball, and her aunt told a local news station that she had been nervous about her softball game later that day. “She was also saying, like, 'What if I make it?'” her aunt recalled. “'I'm gonna be so nervous.' And I was like, 'Girl, you got this. You're gonna be good at it. You got this.’”
Maite Yuleana Rodriguez
Layla, 10, liked dancing to TikToks, won six races at the school’s field day, and loved to swim, her father Vincent Salazar said on Wednesday. A family member paid tribute to her on Twitter. “To learn that you were one of the victims to this senseless act crushes me,” he wrote. “I watched you grow up as a kid, you had so much more life to give. I’m so sorry. I will miss you!”
"Yesterday we lost our heart our whole world,” Vincent Salazar said in a Facebook post, sharing photos of his daughter with her first-place field day ribbons, in her Halloween costume, and selfies with her family.
“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.”
Vincent also posted a link to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, writing, “Me and Layla would jam to this on the way to school and it's the only thing that's bringing me peace right now..classic.”
Correction: Rojelio Torres's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.