Uvalde School Shooting: Remembering the Victims, 1 Year Later

Nineteen students and two teachers were murdered on May 24, 2022, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

Irma Garcia, Xavier Lopez, Amerie Jo Garza
Irma Garcia, Xavier Lopez, Amerie Jo Garza. Photo: GoFundMe (3)

It was a typical Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, as students and teachers at Robb Elementary School wound down the 2021-2022 school year, with graduation set for the weekend. In the morning, the school celebrated its honor roll, but shortly after, the bright futures of 19 young students and two teachers were tragically cut short.

On May 24, 2022, one year ago today, an 18-year-old gunman wearing body armor crashed his car in a ditch near the school, then, after getting past law enforcement, entered a classroom and locked himself inside, killing 19 students and two teachers.

The pain of the Uvalde parents and community was compounded by the revelation that it took law enforcement 77 minutes to breach the classrooms and kill the shooter after the initial shots were fired; the slow response later led to the firing of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo.

A year after the Uvalde massacre, PEOPLE remembers the victims:

Eva Mireles, 44

Eva Mireles, Teacher Killed in Robb Elementary School Shooting
Eva Mireles. Courtesy Mireles Family and Lydia Martinez Delgado/Local News X/TMX

Eva Mireles was one of two teachers killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. She worked in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District for 17 years, her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, told ABC7.

According to her school district teacher bio, she was a fourth grade teacher who loved running and hiking. For five years, she had been co-teaching the grade with fellow instructor Irma Garcia, who was also killed in the attack.

Mireles' daughter Adalynn paid tribute to her mother on Twitter after the attack, writing, "My sweet mommy, I will miss you forever."

"Mom, I have no words to describe how I feel right now, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life," she wrote in her heartfelt tribute.

The tribute ended with: "I want to thank you mom, for being such an inspiration to me. I will forever be so proud to be your daughter. My sweet mommy, I will see you again."

Xavier Lopez, 10

Xavier Lopez
Xavier Lopez. GoFundMe

Xavier Lopez was excited for summer to roll around so he could spend his days off swimming, his cousin, Lisa Garza, told the Associated Press.

"He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today," said Garza, per AP.

Xavier's mom had seen him just a couple of hours before the shooting, a relative told ABC News, as she was at his school attending an awards ceremony — he had made the honor roll.

"He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom," Garza remembered. "This has just taken a toll on all of us."

A GoFundMe fundraiser by Xavier's family has been set up in his honor.

Uziyah Garcia, 9

Uziyah Garcia
Uziyah Garcia. GoFundMe

Manny Renfro was in awe of his grandson Uziyah Garcia.

"The sweetest little boy that I've ever known," he told AP, quickly clarifying: "I'm not just saying that because he's my grandkid."

Uziyah last visited Renfro in San Angelo, Texas, during spring break, a trip that takes about three hours by car. "We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns," Renfro said, per the AP. "Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good. There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced."

Uziyah's aunt, Nikki Cross, told NBC DFW that the boy would have turned 10 the summer after his death. He left behind two sisters, CNN reports.

Alexandria Aniyah 'Lexi' Rubio, 10

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
Lexi Rubio. Facebook

In a Facebook post, Lexi Rubio's mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, wrote, "My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll. 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."

A cousin of Lexi's wrote on Twitter, "She was such a bright light in everyone's life and was a badass ball player. You left this world way too soon ,and you will forever be missed."

On the morning she was killed, Lexi made the school's honor roll and also won the school's Good Citizen award.

Irma Garcia

Irma Garcia
Irma Garcia. GoFundMe

Irma Garcia, a teacher, was remembered on a GoFundMe page set up in her honor as a loving wife and mother to four children.

"Sweet, kind, loving. Fun with the greatest personality," the page read.

"She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom. She was a hero."

In 2019, Garcia was named a finalist for the Trinity Prize, which honors local teachers chosen as distinguished educators by Trinity University in San Antonio.

According to her profile at Robb Elementary School, she loved to barbecue with her husband of 24 years, Joe, and also listen to music. She had been a teacher at the school for 23 years.

Jose Flores, 10

Jose Flores Jr.
Jose Flores. Facebook

Ten-year-old Jose Flores Jr. "loved going to school," his uncle Christopher Salazar told The Washington Post. "He was very smart."

Hours before he was killed, Jose was one of several star students who received a certificate for making the school honor roll.

"He was a very happy little boy. He loved both his parents," Salazar told the Post, "and loved to laugh and have fun."

Jose's father, Jose Flores Sr., told CNN that "He was always full of energy, ready to play till the night." His favorite pastimes included baseball and video games.

Tess Mata, 10

Tess Mata

Tess Mata's sister, Faith Mata, remembered her in a poignant Twitter post.

"My precious angel you are loved so deeply," Faith wrote. "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 sissy."

A GoFundMe campaign has been established to support Tess' family.

Amerie Jo Garza, 10

Amerie Jo Garza with her father Angelo Garza
Angel Garza, Amerie Jo Garza. GoFundMe

Amerie Jo Garza, 10, loved nothing more than her family, especially her little brother, 3-year-old Zayne.

"She kissed her brother, went to school," Berlinda Arreola, 49, told PEOPLE of her granddaughter's last moments at home.

That same day, Amerie marked a major milestone for any 4th grader: she made the honor roll. Minutes after the award ceremony, Amerie was shot to death while trying to call 911.

"She was so protective," the grandmother says. "She always wanted to help."

Jayce Luevanos, 10

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos. GoFundMe

On the morning of the shooting, Jayce asked his grandmother if he could go with her on another class’s trip to the San Antonio Zoo, his grandfather Carmelo Quiroz, told USA Today.

His family told him that he couldn’t miss a day of classes so close to the end of the school year “He was so sad he couldn’t go,” Quiroz said. “Maybe if he would have gone, he’d be here.”

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for Jayce's family.

Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10

Jailah Silguero
Jailah Silguero. Facebook

Jailah Silguero, 10, loved to dance and film TikTok videos, her mom Veronica Luevanos told the Los Angeles Times.

On that fateful day, Luevanos said Jailah, who normally enjoys going to school, "didn't want to go."

"She told her father, 'Can I stay home?'" Luevanos told Univision. "I think she knew something would happen."

On Facebook, the grieving mother wrote, "I'm so heart broken baby. We miss you so much mama R.I.P my beautiful angel fly high baby can't wait to see u again."

Jailah's cousin Jayce was also killed in the shooting.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Jailah's family.

Miranda Mathis, 11

Miranda Mathis
Miranda Mathis. Facebook

Maranda Mathis

According to The Dallas Morning News, Miranda's family searched for her for hours before learning the devastating news.

Her mother, Deanna Gornto, told KSAT that Miranda had a “kind heart.”

“I want people to remember her by her love of animals. I want them to remember her smile and beautiful eyes,” said Gornto.

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez. Facebook

Ten-year-old Annabell Rodriguez died along with her cousin, Jackie Cazares, who was also 10.

Polly Flores, Annabell's aunt, mourned the devastating news in an online post, saying that her "heart is scattered" since she learned of the "beautiful" fourth-grader's death.

Her sister, Lidia Anthony Luna, wrote on Facebook that Annabell was looking forward to the upcoming summer break from school. "Now," Luna wrote, the two girls are "dancing up in the sky, watching over us."

Jackie Cazares, 10

Jackie Cazares
Jackie Cazares. Facebook

Jacinto Cazares, father of 10-year-old Jackie Cazares, wrote after his daughter's death: "My baby girl has been taken away."

"We're devastated in ways I hope no one ever goes through. ... It hurts us to our souls," Cazares wrote, adding that his daughter was "full of life and love."

Ellie Garcia, 10

Ellie Garcia
Ellie Garcia. Facebook

Ellie Garcia's parents, Stephen Garcia and Jennifer Lugo, spent a large part of Tuesday frantically searching for their daughter, a basketball player in the city's youth league and avid Christian.

Shortly before noon, Jennifer posted on Facebook that she heard gunshots, wondering if the nearby police activity was headed toward her daughter's school. When news of an active shooter incident broke, she asked friends to help locate Ellie.

Several hours later, she received the news that Ellie had been killed in the horrific act of violence, writing in part, "My heart is shattered to pieces. I love you baby girl I will never stop thinking of you !!!"

In a previously recorded TikTok circulated by loved ones on social media, Ellie can be seen telling viewers, "Jesus, he died for us, so when we die, we'll be up there for him."

Alithia Ramirez, 10

Alithia Ramirez. facebook

Alithia’s aunt Rosemarie Ramirez told PEOPLE last year that her niece loved to draw. She showed a PEOPLE reporter a photo of a drawing of sunflowers Alithia had made for her, saying, “It's the last thing she gave me."

Last July, Google honored Alithia by showcasing the drawing she submitted to the 2022 "Doodle for Google" contest.

The colorful drawing depicts a little girl sitting on a sofa with two balls of yarn alongside a dog who is holding a toy. "Google" is spelled out with various objects on the wall in the background.

"I want the world to see my art and show the world what I can do, I want people to be happy when they see my passion in art," Alithia wrote.

A GoFundMe page has been established to support the Ramirez family.

Rojelio Torres, 10

Rogelio Torres
Rojelio Torres. Federico Torres

The Torres family said it took 12 hours for them to receive the news Rojelio died on the day of his murder.

"We are devastated and heartbroken. Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten," his aunt Precious Perez told KSAT-TV.

"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 texas shooting victim https://www.gofundme.com/f/our-precious-angel-makenna-lee-elrod
Makenna Lee Elrod. gofundme

Makenna Lee Elrod's big sister Kadence Elizabeth mourned the 4th grader's death on Twitter.

"My baby sister has finally been found in a classroom… thank you for everyone sending their love to my family and I," she 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."

Makenna loved tumbling, a friend's mother told The Dallas Morning News.

Makenna's aunt wrote in a GoFundMe page set up for her family that the girl "had the biggest heart and loved her family and friends so much. Her smile would light up a room. We will carry her in our hearts and we know she is with our Lord and Savior."

Nevaeh Bravo, 10

Nevaeh Bravo
Nevaeh Bravo. Facebook

Nevaeh’s name spelled backwards is “heaven.” After her death, hers aunt wrote on Facebook, “She is flying with the angels above. We love you Nevaeh very much princess!”

Her aunt created a GoFundMe campaign for the family to cover any funeral expenses or costs stemming from the tragedy, thanking the community for their support.

Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10

Maite Rodriguez
Maite Rodriguez. gofundme

Before learning of her death, those who knew Maite Rodriguez posted pleas for help in finding the little girl, on Facebook.

"Please pray that she's found safe," Claudia Perez Sanchez, Maite's father's girlfriend, wrote. "Prayers to all the families and kids. This is so heartbreaking."

In an updated post, Sanchez confirmed Maite was killed.

"She's been found she's now flying high with the angels. Rest In Peace Maite Rodriguez," the post read.

Eliahana 'Elijah' Cruz Torres, 10

Eliahana Torres
Elijah Torres. GoFundMe

Eliahana "Elijah" Cruz Torres, 10, was looking forward to her final softball game of the season on Tuesday, but she never made it.

"I talked to her last night," her aunt told KENS-TV, "and she was kind of nervous, saying that it was her last game, and she didn't want softball to end."

The young athlete was also waiting to learn if she made the all-star team.

"And she was also saying like, 'What if I make it? I'm gonna be so nervous.' And I was like, 'Girl, you got this,'" her aunt told the station.

Layla Salazar, 11

Layla Salazar
Layla Salazar. Facebook

Layla Salazar, 11
The happy girl, who loved jamming to "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns 'N' Roses with her dad on the way to school, was fondly known as the "princess" of her family, according to her parents' Facebook profiles.

She was also a fast runner, winning a total of six races at her school's field day, AP reports. "She was just a whole lot of fun," her father, Vinnie Salazar, told the outlet.

On a GoFundMe campaign established to support Layla's family, Vinnie wrote, "If people knew how much we truly miss our daughter, they would wonder how we're still breathing ... she will live within the beat of my heart forever."

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