Heartbreaking lifeguard testimony. That’s how he learned of his daughter’s death 4:46 (CNN) — The families of the 19 students and two teachers killed this week in a nearly hour-long shooting at a Texas elementary school have begun planning funerals for their loved ones. Beloved, as new details of heroism and horror emerge, and people in America again grapple with politics and grief in the face of yet another shocking carnage. The bodies of nine victims of America’s deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade were delivered to funeral homes Wednesday night, Judge Lalo Diaz told CNN. The rest will be delivered Thursday, he said. The 18-year-old shooter, identified as Salvador Ramos, allegedly texted a girl about his attack plan minutes before it began Tuesday, then walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, with a rifle. AR-15 and remained inside for up to an hour. He barricaded himself in a classroom and opened fire on students and teachers, according to authorities, and was later killed by law enforcement. A lifeguard who was at the scene and giving medical help to a student leaving school learned that her daughter, Amerie Jo Garza, had been killed, Ángel Garza told CNN. Hysterical and covered in blood, the injured girl said that she had seen her best friend killed, and that the girl’s name was Amerie. People attend a vigil Wednesday for those killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Fighting back tears and holding a framed photo of his daughter receiving an honor roll award, the lifeguard said that while the shooting was taking place she tried to call 911 on the cell phone she had been given two weeks ago for her 10th birthday. “She died trying to save her classmates from her,” Garza said. “She just wanted to save everyone.” The Uvalde community joins a growing list of Americans devastated by gun violence, particularly school shootings. The massacre at Robb Elementary School is at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school this year, according to a CNN tally. It is also the deadliest school shooting since 26 people were killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Support has flooded the community reeling from Tuesday’s tragedy. People wept and hugged at a vigil Wednesday night as “Amazing Grace” played. Residents of Uvalde, Del Rio and other nearby towns also waited at least three hours to donate blood Wednesday to replenish supplies at local hospitals, said Mohammed Sayed, director of Donor Recruitment for South Texas Blood & Tissue. “This is something we don’t take lightly,” said Catherine Alvarez, 20, who stood in line with her mother for hours even though she can’t donate blood for health reasons. “In this community we are all family and if one is in mourning, we are all in mourning.” The Uvalde tragedy has drawn outrage from families of victims of previous gun attacks and from officials who say failure to intervene will only lead to more attacks. Chang Barrero: arming the people more is not the solution 1:28 “There are people there sitting in the same place in a different community [a la que] I was. Today, tomorrow, they’re going to be at a funeral home, sadly, planning a burial,” Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, told CNN. Families identify loved ones As funeral preparations begin, a A heartbroken country learns who several of the victims were, including the teachers Eva Mireles and Irma García, who had taught classes together for five years. García, a wife and mother of four children, was “sweet, kind and loving,” according to a GoFundMe campaign created to raise money for funeral expenses and family needs.”She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her class. She was a hero. She was loved by many and will truly be missed,” the campaign says. Mireles had been teaching for 17 years and “was a lively soul” who “spread laughter and joy wherever she went,” relative Amber Ybarra told CNN. “She made you feel like she was teaching your son alone,” said Erica Torres, whose son, Stanley, was in her third- and fourth-grade classes, “as if there were no other students than him. It made you feel really good.” School shooting survivor relives his experience 4:24 Jose Flores Jr., 10, was also killed in the shooting, his father Jose Flores Sr. told CNN. He was the “little shadow” of his mother, he said. Jose Jr. was full of energy and loved playing baseball and video games, his father said. Lexi Rubio, 10, had made the honor roll and received the good citizen award just hours earlier of being shot to death, her parents Felix and Kimberly Rubio told CNN, “We told her we loved her and that we would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye,” Kimberly Rubio wrote in a post on Facebook. Nine-year-old Eliana “Ellie” Garcia was among the dead, relatives confirmed to CNN affiliate KHOU. loved the movie “Encanto,” cheerleading and playing basketball, and dreamed of becoming a teacher, her grandparents, Rogelio Lugo and Nelda Lugo, told the LA Times.Third-grader Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, and her cousin died on Tuesday, their relatives confirmed to CNN affiliate KHOU. The name of the cousin has not been released. The attacker sent messages about his intentions before the massacre Before beginning his killing spree, Ramos allegedly sent messages to a jovgen who lives in Germany about his intentions This is what is known about the massacre in Uvalde, Texas 4:17 He complained that his grandmother was “on the phone with AT&T abojt (sic) my phone”, according to the screenshots reviewed by CNN and an interview with the 15-year-old girl, whose mother gave permission for her to be interviewed. “It’s annoying,” she texted him. Minutes later, he texted, “I just shot my grandma in the head,” immediately followed by the text, “I’m going to shoot up an elementary school [ahora mismo]The girl began chatting with Ramos on a social media app on May 9, she told CNN. Ramos was sending her videos of selfies and discussing a plan to visit her in Europe, the videos and text messages show. The attacker shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before driving to Robb Elementary School, where he crashed his car into a nearby ditch, according to authorities.The grandmother has been in serious condition since Wednesday, according to Once he arrived at the school, he encountered a school district police officer, dropped a bag of ammunition and entered the school, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Erick Estrada said. Ramos then barricaded himself in two adjoining classrooms and opened fire, DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez said.Photos and Memories of Children and Educators Victims of the Texas Massacre 3:33 The shooter was at the school between 40 and 60 minutes before for law enforcement to break in and kill him, Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw said at a news conference Wednesday. Ramos was in a standoff with law enforcement for about 30 minutes after shooting students and teachers, said Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose district includes Uvalde. “Then he stops and dug in. That’s where there’s a kind of lull in the action,” Gonzales told CNN. “This whole thing, I understand, lasted about an hour, but this is where there’s kind of a 30-minute break. They feel like they’ve got him entrenched. The rest of the students in the school were leaving at that point.” Ramos was a local high school dropout with no criminal or mental health history, according to authorities. He had just turned 18 and had legally purchased two AR-15-type rifles and bullets for his birthday. Her grandfather said Wednesday that he didn’t know Ramos had guns. “If he had known, he would have reported it,” Rolando Reyes said. The impact of the Uvalde shooting is felt across the country As the number of victims of mass shootings in the United States mounts, survivors and families of victims of previous attacks have mobilized a network to help others overcome the trauma. O’Rourke launches proposals to prevent massacres in the US 0:42 “We will hold their hands and their broken hearts as long as we can and continue the path with them for the rest of their lives if they want us to be there,” said Sandy Phillips, who lost her daughter nearly 10 years ago during a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. “We always recommend that they initially get trauma counseling, which they’re going to need to treat the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms they’re going to have from this,” she told CNN. Her son was one of the first to go to Uvalde to help and was also there the day her sister died. As Uvalde families are overwhelmed with grief, city officials in Houston are facing calls to cancel the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which will be held there this Weekend. But the city cannot cancel its agreement with the NRA, citing contractual obligations, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. Still, he urged lawmakers and officials not to participate in the event and said the NRA should postpone it. “They certainly don’t have to come, and I think it would be respectful to families who are planning their children’s funerals if they didn’t come,” Turner said. “They shouldn’t come.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who is scheduled to speak at the NRA conference, argued Wednesday that tougher gun laws are not a “real solution” and said state officials are discussing how to keep the schools and approach people with mental health problems. See the messages the Texas shooter sent before the massacre 1:39 In his press conference, the governor and other officials faced Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke. “This is up to you, until you decide to do something different,” O’Rourke told Abbott, calling the Uvalde shooting predictable. “This will continue to happen. Someone has to defend the children of this state or they will continue to be killed, as they were yesterday in Uvalde.” National officials have also spoken out about Tuesday’s shooting, including the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who called it “a reminder that the Gun violence is a serious public health threat that must be addressed,” according to a statement. State officials in other states are vowing to act after the attack on Robb Elementary School in Texas. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that state lawmakers plan to fast-track several gun control bills that would go into effect late next month, he said. In New York state, which was rocked by a mass shooting in Buffalo less than two weeks ago, Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to raise the minimum age to buy a gun in the state from 18 to 21, she said. “Am I supposed to leave all the flags at half-staff? They’re still at half-staff from Buffalo. No, I don’t want to,” Hochul said during a Wednesday news conference. “So we tap into this anger, we talk about what we can do. We work with our legislators.” With information from Nikki Carvajal, Dakin Andone, Jamiel Lynch, Andy Rose, Elizabeth Joseph, Sara Smart, Amanda Jackson, Carroll Alvarado, Maegan Vazquez, John Bonifield, Isabele Chapman, Daniel A. Medina, Curt Devine, Jeff Winter, Priscilla Alvarez, Joe Sutton, Jennifer Henderson and Gregory Krieg.
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