WALDE, TX (AP) – It was supposed to be the first day of a joyous week for Robb Elementary School students …
WALDE, TX (AP) – It was supposed to be the first day of a joyous week for Robb Elementary School students – the start of summer vacation. Instead, on Monday, the first two of the 19 children killed in the classroom were remembered during the funeral.
Gathering of 10-year-old Amery Joe Garza took place at the Hillcrest Memorial House in Uwald, Texas, opposite an elementary school where children along with two teachers were shot dead on Tuesday before the gunman himself was killed. A visit to another 10-year-old girl, Maite Rodriguez, was at another funeral home in town.
Over the next two and a half traumatic weeks, people in a city in southwest Texas will say goodbye to children and their teachers, one heartfelt visit, a funeral and a funeral after another. As family and friends reveal their grief, investigators will seek answers on how police responded to the shooting, and lawmakers said they would think what can be done to stop gun violence that infiltrates the nation.
The funeral of 11 children and teacher Irma Garcia is scheduled for this week alone.
On Monday, some mourners while wearing Amer wore lilac or lavender shades of purple – Amer’s favorite – at the request of her father, Angela Garza. Many carried in flowers, including purple.
A little girl who loved to draw just got a cell phone for her 10th birthday. One of her friends told Angela Garza that Amery tried to call the police during an attack on her fourth grade class.
Among the mourners during Amer’s visit were some of Matt’s relatives. Like many people, they visited both.
The Mate family wore green shirts with a tie illustrating Maito with angel wings. Before entering the funeral home, they stopped at a ditch to see the armed metal gate of Salvador Ramos, into which a pickup truck crashed before crossing the field and entering the school.
“How long has he been walking?” Asked Juana Magagna, Aunt Maite.
The Hillcrest Memorial itself and the filming will be forever linked. After Ramos smashed the truck, two men at the funeral home heard the blow and ran to the crash site. Ramos shot at them. He missed, and both men reached a safe place.
The funeral of Eliana “Eli” Garcia will take place on June 6 – the day after she was to turn 10 years old. Her family was preparing a big birthday party at her grandmother’s house this weekend. She was hoping to receive gifts related to the Disney movie “Encanto”.
“She loved this film and talked a lot about it,” said her aunt Syria Arizmendi.
Eli was quiet even in the family, but loved to shoot videos and was already choreographing with her older sister for her quinceañera party – celebrating the girl’s 15th birthday – although it was still five years before, Arismendi said.
Ellie’s older sister is doing well, Arismendi said, realizing that their families and others have a long way to go to recover.
“It’s just sad for all the kids,” she said.
Ritual directors, embalmers and others from all over Texas came to the rescue. Jimmy Lucas, president of the Texas Funeral Directors Association, brought a hearse and volunteered to work as a driver, engage in services or do whatever he could, he told NBC News. Other arriving undertakers were there to help with the reconstruction of the face, given the damage done by a military-type gun.
Governor Greg Abbott, speaking at a Remembrance Day event in Longview, urged Texans to keep Uwalde in their prayers.
“What happened in Uwald was a horrible act of evil,” Abbott said. “And as Texans, we need to come together and raise Uwalde and support them in every way possible. It will take time to heal the devastation that families have gone through and are going through, but rest assured, we will not back down until Uwalde recovers. ”
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Sunday that it was reviewing the reaction of law enforcement agencies. Police have been harshly criticized for taking more than an hour to kill Ramas in nearby classrooms, where he unleashed a massacre.
On Friday, officials found that students and faculty had repeatedly asked for help from 911 operators as the police commander told more than a dozen officers to wait in the corridor. Officials said the commander believed the suspect had barricaded himself in a nearby classroom and that there was no more active attack.
The revelation raised new questions about whether lives had been killed because officers did not act more quickly to stop an armed man who was eventually killed by border guards.
Authorities said Ramas legally purchased two guns shortly before the attack on the school: an AR-style rifle on May 17 and a second rifle on May 20. He had just turned 18, which allowed him to acquire a weapon under federal law.
A day after visiting Uwalde and promising “We will”, in response to people chanting “Do something”, President Joe Biden on Monday expressed some optimism that there could be some bipartisan support to tighten restrictions on types of high-power weapons. used by an armed man.
“I think things have gotten so bad that everyone is getting more rational, at least I hope so,” Biden told reporters before commemorating the victims of Arlington National Cemetery.
“The Second Amendment has never been absolute,” Biden said. “You couldn’t buy a gun when the Second Amendment was passed. It was impossible to go out and buy a lot of weapons. “
A bipartisan group of senators spoke last weekend to see if they could reach even a modest compromise on gun security legislation. Encouraging state red flag laws to keep guns away from those with mental health problems, as well as addressing school safety and mental health resources were on the table, said Senator Chris Murphy, who is leading the effort.
The group will meet again this week within 10 days to close the deal.
Nathan Elgren of Uwalde and Jim Salter of O’Fallon, Missouri, contributed to this report.
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