Remembering the victims of the Uvalde, Texas massacre
One of the 10-year-olds aspired to be a lawyer someday. Another, a marine biologist.
Another child had just celebrated her school honor roll achievement with her family, while another student was saving up for a trip to Disney World.
In the aftermath of the massacre, family members shared photos and memories of their loved ones who were killed – from the big dreams they had to the simple things that brought them joy.
Here’s what friends and relatives want everyone to remember about the people they lost.
Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo
Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo was 10 years old, her cousin told the Washington Post.
Austin Ayala told the paper the family is devastated after losing Nevaeh, whom he said put a smile on everyone’s face.
Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home created and shared a tribute video, along with an online obituary.
Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares
Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares was killed along with her cousin, friend and classmate Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, according to posts by her family on social media.
“She was full of love and full of life. She would do anything for anybody,” Cazares’ father Jacinto Cazares told reporters in a video distributed by Reuters. “And to me, she’s a little firecracker, man. It comforts me a little bit to think she would be the one to help her friends in need.”
Cazares’ family recently came together to celebrate her first Communion, her father said.
“Through COVID, through the death of a family member a year ago, it brought us together and it was something beautiful,” he added. “And now, we’re being brought together, but it is in tragedy.”
Jacinto Cazares arrived at the scene at Robb Elementary School shortly after he heard that something was going on, joined near the building’s front door by several other men who had children at the school, he told The Washington Post. He said he wanted to rush into the building as soon as he heard the gunshots coming from inside the school.
“There were five or six of (us) fathers, hearing the gunshots, and (police officers) were telling us to move back,” Cazares told the paper. “We didn’t care about us. We wanted to storm the building. We were saying, ‘Let’s go’ because that is how worried we were, and we wanted to get our babies out.”
Hours later, he learned his daughter had been shot and killed, the Post reported.
Makenna Lee Elrod
Makenna’s mother, April Elrod, confirmed her child’s death to CNN.
“Her smile would light up a room,” Allison McCullough, Makenna’s aunt, told ABC. She added that Makenna loved to play softball, do gymnastics and spend time with her family. She was a natural leader and loved school. McCullough described her niece as “a light to all who knew her.”
“She loved her family and friends so much,” McCullough said.
Jose Flores Jr.
Jose Flores Jr., 10, was an amazing kid and big brother to his siblings, his father Jose Flores Sr. told CNN. And he loved baseball and video games.
“He was always full of energy,” Flores said. “Ready to play till the night.”
Jose Jr. wanted to be a police officer when he grew up because he wanted to protect others. His mother, Cynthia Flores, remembered how he would always help her around the house, especially when it came to his baby brother.
“He would just be like my little shadow,” she told CNN’s Gary Tuchman. “He would just be helping me with the baby. He had a thing with babies, like my friends’ babies. He just had a thing with babies. He was always nice.”
Jose Jr.’s sister Endrea Flores was also in the fourth grade at Robb Elementary, though Endrea was in a different class than her brother. What she appreciated most about her older brother, she said, was “that he would always support me and he would always play with me.”
Eliahna ‘Ellie’ Garcia
Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia was nine years old and about to turn 10, family members told CNN affiliate KHOU.
Rogelio Lugo and Nelda Lugo, Ellie’s grandparents, told the Los Angeles Times that she was a fourth-grader at the school and the second-eldest of five girls in the family.
She loved the movie “Encanto,” cheerleading and basketball, according to her grandparents. They said she dreamed of becoming a teacher.
Irma Garcia was a teacher, a wife and mother to four children, according to a GoFundMe set up to raise funds for her funeral expenses and family needs.
“Sweet, kind, loving. Fun with the greatest personality. A wonderful 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary that was a victim in a Texas school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom. She was a hero. She was loved by many and will truly be missed,” the campaign site reads.
Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, told The Washington Post that officials informed the family that she helped shield students from the gunfire.
“I want her to be remembered as someone who sacrificed her life and put her life on the line for her kids,” Martinez told the paper. “They weren’t just her students. Those were her kids, and she put her life on the line, she lost her life to protect them. That’s the type of person she was.”
Two days after Garcia’s death, her husband, Joe, suffered a fatal heart attack, the Archdiocese of San Antonio told CNN. The pair’s family says he died of a broken heart.
“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers,” the GoFundMe post said. “I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life of more than 25 years was too much to bear.”
Garcia had been an educator for 23 years, according to her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website. It was her fifth year co-teaching with Eva Mireles, who was also among the victims of the massacre.
10-year-old Uziyah Garcia was “full of life,” according to an uncle, Mitch Renfro. He loved video games and anything with wheels. He leaves behind two sisters.
“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Garcia’s grandfather Manny Renfro told CNN affiliate KSAT. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”
Uziyah last visited his grandfather in San Angelo during his spring break. Renfro recalls tossing around a football with him and how quickly his grandson took to the sport.
“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.”
Amerie Jo Garza
Amerie Jo Garza had recently just turned 10 years old, and her family had fulfilled her birthday wishes by gifting her a phone, her father Angel Garza told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Garza eventually learned from two students that his daughter tried to use her new phone to call authorities during the shooting. He is a med aide, he explained, and when he responded to the scene, he saw a girl covered in blood who told him that someone had shot her best friend.
When Garza asked who her best friend was, the girl replied, “Amerie.” His daughter.
“I just want people to know she died trying to save her classmates,” Garza said. “She just wanted to save everyone.”
The family has been trying to cope with Amerie’s death. Garza said his 3-year-old son has been asking for his sister every morning when he wakes up.
“We informed him that his sister is now with God and she will no longer be with us,” he said through tears.
Garza added, breaking down, “She was the sweetest girl who did nothing wrong. I just wanna know what she did to be a victim.”
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos
Luevanos’ grandfather Carmelo Quiroz told USA Today that the 10-year-old and his mother lived with him. He said Jayce was happy and loved. “He was our baby,” Quiroz said.
Veronica Luevanos, Jayce’s aunt and mother of shooting victim Jailah Nicole Silguero, posted a picture on Facebook of her daughter and Jayce and wrote, “My baby you didn’t deserve this neither did your classmates n cousin Jayce.”
A GoFundMe site raised funds for Jayce Luevanos’ funeral expenses and family needs, CNN confirmed.
“We are all deeply saddened by the news we received from the Robb School shooting. It breaks my heart having to create a fundraiser for such a need but Jayce’s parents, Christina and Jose Luevanos need as much help as possible in these terrible times,” Jesus Cardona, who organized the verified GoFundMe campaign, said on the site.
Xavier Javier Lopez
Just hours before he was killed, 10-year-old Xavier Lopez was lauded at Robb Elementary’s honor roll ceremony, his mother, Felicha Martinez, told The Washington Post.
Martinez took a photo of her fourth-grader and told him she was proud of him and loved him. That was the last moment she shared with her “mama’s boy.”
“He was funny, never serious, and his smile …” Felicha Martinez told the Post, her voice breaking. “That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up.”
Just a few days shy of completing his last year of elementary school, Xavier was counting down to his official move up the academic ladder into Flores Middle School in Uvalde, his mother told the Post.
“He really couldn’t wait to go to middle school,” she said.
Tess Marie Mata
Tess Marie Mata, 10, had been saving money for a trip to Disney World with her family before she was killed at Robb Elementary, her sister, Faith Mata, told The Washington Post.
Tess was in the fourth grade and loved TikTok dances, Ariana Grande and the Houston Astros, Faith Mata told the Post.
“My precious angel you are loved so deeply. 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,” Faith Mata wrote on Twitter.
Maranda Mathis was 11 years old. The City of Uvalde’s website confirmed her as one of the victims.
Leslie Ruiz, who identified herself as a friend of Mathis’ mother, told The Washington Post that Mathis was a bright girl who was fun and spunky. She said that Maranda’s best friend was her brother and he was also at Robb Elementary when the shooting happened.
Mathis’ cousin Deanna Miller posted on Facebook: “My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly I’m so sorry this happen to u baby please keep my family in your prayers.”
Eva Mireles was a fourth-grade teacher at the school, family members told CNN.
Mireles had been an educator for 17 years. Erica Torres recalled the care with which Mireles treated her son Stanley, who has autism, while he was in her third- and fourth-grade classes. In an effort to stop him from wandering around the school, Mireles put Stanley in charge of rounding up students to get to class.
“She made you feel like she was only teaching your child,” Torres said. “Like there’s no other students but him. She made you feel so good.”
Mireles’ daughter, Adalynn, tweeted a tribute to her mother Wednesday, a family member confirmed to CNN. The tweet also included a picture of Adalynn and her mom.
“Mom, you are a hero. I keep telling myself that this isn’t real. I just want to hear your voice,” the tribute read. “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.”
In her spare time, Mireles enjoyed running, hiking, biking and being with her family, according to her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s website.
“She was a vivacious soul. She spread laughter and joy everywhere she went,” relative Amber Ybarra told CNN. “She was a loving and caring mom, relative, teacher to her students, and it’s absolutely tragic what’s happening.”
Alithia Ramirez, 10, was in fourth grade and loved to draw, her father, Ryan Ramirez, told CNN affiliate KSAT. Alithia wanted to be an artist.
Her father posted a photo of Alithia with angel wings on Facebook.
Alithia’s grandmother, Rosa Maria Ramirez, told ABC News: “She was a very talented little girl… She was real sweet.”
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez was 10 years old, family members told CNN affiliate KHOU-TV.
Her family told the news station that she was in the same classroom as her cousin Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, who was also killed in the shooting.
Maite Rodriguez, 10, dreamed of becoming a marine biologist and had her heart set on attending Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, said her mother, Ana Rodriguez, on Facebook.
Maite was “sweet, charismatic, loving, caring, loyal, free, ambitious, funny, silly, goal driven” and her best friend, she said.
Ana Rodriguez wrote that her daughter loved animals and photography and learned to sew on her own by watching YouTube videos.
Rodriguez ended her Facebook post with a message to her daughter, which read, “it’s not goodbye it’s I’ll see you later my sweet girl. I LOVE YOU.”
Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Rubio
Lexi Rubio, 10, made the All-A honor roll and received a good citizen award, her parents Felix and Kimberly Rubio told CNN. Just before the shooting, the two had celebrated their daughter’s achievements at school.
“We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye,” Kimberly Rubio wrote in a post on Facebook.
The parents told CNN they were proud of their daughter, who loved softball and basketball. She wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up, the family told CNN.
“She was kind, sweet, and appreciated life. She was going to be an all-star in softball and had a bright future, whether it’s sports or academic. Please let the world know we miss our baby.”
Felix Rubio, a deputy with the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN’s Jason Carroll he was one of many authorities who responded to the scene of the shooting. The grieving father said he wants to see gun violence addressed.
“All I can hope is that she’s just not a number,” he said through tears. “This is enough. No one else needs to go through this. We never needed to go through this, but we are.”
Layla Salazar, 11, loved to swim with her two older brothers, her family told CNN.
She was an active child who loved to run, film Tik Tok videos and dance, her parents Vincent Salazar III and Melinda Alejandro Salazar said.
“Our hearts are shattered because of this,” her grandfather Vincent Salazar Jr. said.
Jailah Nicole Silguero
Jailah Nicole Silguero was 10 years old and enjoyed dancing and making TikTok videos, her mother Veronica Luevanos told CNN network partner, Univision.
Luevanos said in the interview that her daughter asked to stay home from school Tuesday morning but that she said no.
Nancy Salazar, a family friend, started a GoFundMe page to help the family and wrote that Silguero “was a delighted, energetic, Lovely little girl.”
Luevanos also told Univision that she lost her nephew in the shooting but did not give his name.
Eliahna ‘Elijah’ Cruz Torres
Eliahna “Elijah” Cruz Torres, 10, also was killed in the shooting, her aunt Leandra Vera told CNN. “Our baby gained her wings,” Vera said.
Rojelio Torres was 10 years old, his aunt Precious Perez told CNN affiliate KSAT.
The family waited nearly 12 hours to find out if her nephew was one of the victims, Perez said.
“We are devastated and heartbroken,” she said. “Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten.”
Before receiving the news about his son, Torres’ father, Federico Torres told CNN affiliate KHOU that he learned about the shooting through friends. He left work and rushed to the school, but officials there did not give him information right away, he said.
In a Facebook post, Torres’ mother Evadulia Orta posted a photo of her son and wrote “RIP to my son Rojelio Torres we love you and miss you.”