(UVALDE, Texas) — A fourth-grade teacher, several sets of cousins and a 10-year-old boy whose family called him “the life of the party” were among those killed in a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, ABC News has learned.
At least 19 children and two teachers were killed after a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, west of San Antonio, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The alleged gunman — identified by officials as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, a student at Uvalde High School — is dead, authorities said.
“When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they’re going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. And there are families who are in mourning right now,” Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters.
Here’s what we know about the victims so far.
Layla Salazar was among the victims in the shooting, her father, Vincent Salazar, told The Associated Press.
He would play “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses as he drove her to school each morning and Layla would sing along.
Julien Salazar, Layla’s brother, described her to the AP as “positive” and “energetic.”
“She was so happy,” he said. “She was so free of life. She was sweet.”
Tess Mata, 10
The family of Tess Mata confirmed to ABC News that the 10-year-old was killed in the shooting.
With every school shooting that plagued the country, the family never thought it could happen in their small town.
“Every time we would see another mass shooting on the news we would say, ‘that won’t happen here,'” Tess’ mother, Veronica Mata, told ABC News. “That could never happen here. Not in Uvalde.”
Veronica Mata said now her daughter is gone and she “will never get to hold her again.”
Alithia Ramirez, 10
ABC News learned that Alithia Ramirez was one of the students killed.
“She was a very talented little girl,” Rosa Maria Ramirez, the grandmother of Alithia, told ABC News. “She loved to draw.”
The Uvalde school district website features an illustration drawn by Ramirez, which was among the winners of a bullying prevention poster contest. The drawing is entitled, “Kindness Takes Courage,” according to an image of the drawing on the district website.
Uziyah Garcia died in the shooting, his family confirmed to ABC News.
His grandfather, Manny Renfro, described Uziyah to The Associated Press as “the sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known.”
“I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid,” said Renfro, who last saw his grandson when he visited San Angelo during spring break.
Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
Makenna Lee Elrod was one of the students killed Tuesday, her aunt, Allison McCullough, confirmed to ABC News.
Makenna loved to play softball, do gymnastics, loved to dance and sing, play with fidget toys and spend time with her family, McCullough said. She loved animals and “made friends everywhere she went,” her aunt said.
“Her smile would light up a room,” she said. Makenna loved to write notes to her family and leave them in hidden places to be found later, her aunt said. Makenna was a natural leader and loved school. She loved going to the ranch with her dad to feed animals and ride on the ranger.
McCullough described her niece as “a light to all who knew her.”
“She loved her family and friends so much,” she said.
Jailah Nicole Silguero, 11, and Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
Jailah Nicole Silguero and Jayce Carmelo Luevanos — cousins who attended Robb Elementary School — were both killed in the shooting, a family member confirmed to ABC News.
“They were nothing but loving baby angels, always had a smile on their face just full of life,” their cousin said in a statement to ABC News. “I can’t believe this happened to our angels.”
The cousin said the family’s grandpa passed away two weeks ago.
“So much loss in so little time,” the cousin said.
Rojelio Torres, 10
Rojelio Torres’ mother, Evadulia Orta, confirmed to ABC News her son died in the shooting. She described the 10-year-old fourth-grader as a “very smart and loving child.”
Orta, a mother of four, said she is trying to stay strong for the rest of her children, but added, “I lost a piece of my heart.”
Standing beside her twin sister, Orta told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the shooting has not only devastated her entire family but her entire community as well.
“We are praying for everyone, all the children and all the families,” she said.
Annabell Rodriguez, 10, and Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 10
Cousins Annabell Rodriguez and Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares were killed in the mass shooting, their aunt, Polly Flores, confirmed to ABC News.
The two cousins were in the same fourth-grade class at Robb Elementary School, Flores said.
Jacklyn’s father, Jacinto Cazares, told ABC News his daughter “had the biggest heart.”
“My little girl was full of life and touched so many people,” he said. “Jackie was the one that would go out of her way to help anyone. It gives me some comfort, that she would be the little cracker that would have done something to help her classmates in that very scary scenario.”
Eliahana Cruz Torres
Eliahana Cruz Torres died in the Tuesday shooting, her grandfather Adolfo Cruz confirmed to ABC News. Her death was confirmed to the family late Tuesday night.
Amerie Jo Garza, 10
Amerie Jo Garza’s father, Angel Garza, told ABC News that his daughter just turned 10 on May 10. Garza met with U.S. Marshals Tuesday night, who informed him that his daughter had been killed in the shooting at her elementary school.
“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby,” Garza wrote in a statement to ABC News. “She’s been found. 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. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
Xavier James Lopez, 10
Fourth grader Xavier James Lopez died in the school shooting, his family confirmed to ABC News.
According to his cousin, Xavier’s mom was at his awards ceremony one to two hours prior to the shooting, not knowing it would be the last time she would see him.
His grandmother, Amelia Sandoval, told ABC News Tuesday night that Xavier was the “life of the party” and loved to dance and play baseball. He had just made the honor roll.
“You send your kids to school thinking they are coming home,” Sandoval said, her voice choking up. “And then they’re not.”
“We loved him very much and he will be greatly missed,” she said.
Eva Mireles, a fourth-grade teacher at the elementary school, was killed in the shooting, her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, confirmed to ABC News. She had been a teacher in the school district for approximately 17 years, Delgado said.
“I’m furious that these shooting continue. These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all,” Delgado said. “This is my hometown, a small community of less than 20,000. I never imagined this would happen to especially to loved ones.”
“All we can do is pray hard for our country, state, schools and especially the families of all,” she said.
Amber Ybarra, the cousin of Mireles’ husband, called the teacher a “hero” and an “amazing mom.”
“She was just very adventurous and courageous and vivacious and could light up a room,” Ybarra told ABC News. “She’s going to be missed.”
Irma Garcia was a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary who died in the shooting, her family confirmed to ABC News.
According to the district’s website, Garcia had been teaching for 23 years at the school. She also was a co-teacher with Eva Mireles in the same classroom for five years.
Compounding the family’s grief, Garcia’s husband, Joe, died on Thursday after suffering a massive heart attack, the family said.
Irma and Joe Garcia were about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, their family said. The two had known each other since eighth grade and have four children together.
“I love to BBQ with my husband, listen to music, and take country cruises to Concan,” Irma Garcia appeared to have written on the school district’s website.
Nevaeh Bravo, 10
A family member confirmed that 10-year-old Navaeh Bravo was killed in the shooting.
Ellie’s mother confirmed to ABC News that she is one of the victims killed in the shooting.
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, a honor student at Robb Elementary school was killed in the attack on the same day she received a good citizen award from her school, according to her family.
Just hours before she was killed, a smiling Alexandria posed with her parents after receiving a certificate for being a straight A student, her family said.
“My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll,” the girl’s mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio wrote on Facebook the day her daughter died. “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.”
Maite Rodriguez, 10
In an interview with The Associated Press, Maite’s mother said, “She was charismatic. She was goal-driven. She was ambitious. She was determined. She was focused. She was competitive, smart, bright, beautiful, happy.”
“Why I want the world to know?” Maite’s mother added. “Because I don’t want her just to be another kid. I don’t want her just to be another face. I don’t want any of those kids to be just another face. Each one of them has a story to tell. And this just horrendous act just cut everything short for them.”
Maranda Mathis, 11
Maranda Mathis is one of the victims, her mother confirmed to ABC News. Maranda’s brother Bruce, a second grader, was also at the school but was not injured.
Jose Flores, 10
Christopher Salazar, an uncle of Jose Flores, wrote on Facebook: “I love you and miss you.”
ABC News’ Anthony McMahon, Alyssa Pone and Mireya Villarreal contributed to this report.
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