Remembering the 19 Children and 2 Teachers Killed in the Uvalde, Texas, School Shooting

A mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, resulted in at least 21 deaths on May 24. Here's a look at the lives of the 19 kids and two longtime teachers who were killed:

By Natalie Finn May 26, 2022 2:00 PMTags
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What do you even say about 19 children and two teachers getting killed in a classroom?

Kids who just hours beforehand had been celebrated for making the honor roll? Who played sports and danced and sang? Who were just getting acquainted with TikTok? Who were the light of their parents' lives? And the longtime educators devoted to their jobs whose last moments were spent trying to protect their students?

All 21 victims were in the same fourth-grade room at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on the morning of May 24 when an 18-year-old gunman wearing body armor started shooting, firing off as many as several hundred rounds, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez.

Before going to the school, where at least 17 other people were injured in the attack, Olivarez said, the gunman shot his 66-year-old grandmother, whom he lived with, and she remained in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

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At a news conference Wednesday, Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters that the alleged perpetrator, who was shot and killed at the scene by law enforcement, purchased a semiautomatic rifle at a local sporting goods store on March 17 and purchased more than 375 rounds of ammunition the next day. Then, on March 20, McCraw said, the teen bought another semi-automatic rifle at the same store.

Olivarez said during an appearance on MSNBC that the shooter used an AR-style rifle and had no criminal history.

Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

There have been 19 mass shootings in the United States since May 11 that, including the one in Uvalde, left at least 44 people dead, according to Gun Violence Archive statistics reported by NBC News. Uvalde is now said to be the second-deadliest shooting ever at a K-12 school in the U.S., trailing only the Dec. 14, 2012, attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people—including 20 children—were killed.

The investigation is ongoing as authorities try to paint a clearer picture of how this happened, but the mourning for every life that ended at Robb Elementary has only just begun.

Here is a closer look at the 19 kids and two teachers killed on May 24, just days before the end of the school year:

Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 10

"My baby girl has been taken away from my family and I," the Robb Elementary School fourth-grader's father, Jacinto Cazares, wrote on Facebook. "We're devastated in ways, I hope no one ever goes thru. Taken out of arms and lives, in this freaking cowardly way, so young, so innocent, full of life and love. It hurts us to our souls."

He also told ABC News, "My little girl was full of life and touched so many people. 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."

Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10

The fourth-grader's mother, Veronica Luevanos, told Univision that Jailah hadn't wanted to go to school on Tuesday, as if she sensed something bad was going to happen.

Jailah's grandmother Linda Gonzalez told the Daily Beast, "That's what her momma was really upset about last night: 'If only I had let her stay home.'...The girl was disappointed. She wanted to stay home with momma."

At home the child liked to dance and was just getting into TikTok, Gonzalez said.

On Facebook Luevanos wrote, "Why why my baby. Fly high baby grandma n grandpa are with their arms wide open for baby. We're going to miss u so much my wera Chula my lil side kick."

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10

Jayce and Jailah were cousins, a family member told ABC News, sharing in a statement, "They were nothing but loving baby angels, always had a smile on their face just full of life. I can't believe this happened to our angels." Their grandfather had just passed away two weeks ago, the relative said, "so much loss in so little time."

Layla Salazar, 10

"She was just a whole lot of fun," Vincent Salazar told KHOU-TV of his daughter, who loved to swim and dance—and who won six races at her school's field day.

"Yesterday we lost our heart our whole world," Salazar also wrote on Facebook. "We Love you Baby girl Daddy is sorry I wasn't there to protect you when you needed me the most we Love you so much fly high my little angel fly high..."

Alithia Ramirez

Former congressman Beto O'Rourke, who's running to unseat Greg Abbott as governor of Texas, visited the fourth-grader's family the day after the shooting.

"Alithia was killed yesterday. Her parents welcomed me into their home today," he tweeted May 25. "Balloons from Alithia's 10th birthday were still up as was her amazing art. They want the world to know what a beautiful, talented, happy girl she was. They never want this to happen to another kid."

Miranda Mathis, 11

"My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly I'm so sorry this happen to u baby please keep my family in your prayers," Deanna Miller wrote on Facebook, per the Houston Chronicle.

Navaeah Bravo, 10

"We thought that she was missing, but lo and behold we heard late last night that she didn't make it," the child's cousin Austin Ayala told the Washington Post on May 25. "We were all devastated."

Navaeah "put a smile on everyone's faces," Ayala added. "It just feels like a nightmare that we cannot wake up from. Her siblings have to wake up every day knowing that she's not there with them."

According to multiple reports from the scene, some families waited hours to find out if their child was alive or dead. DNA samples from relatives were needed to confirm the identity of some of the victims.

"Young children don't carry an ID with them," Lalo Diaz, a justice of the peace in Uvalde County, told the Post the morning after the shooting, explaining why the process of notifying families was so complicated. "And we can't just show them to families and put them up in pictures, because there's a bad scene."

Rojelio Torres, 10

Rojelio's family was among those who waited into the night of May 24 to find out what happened to him.

"They sent us to the hospital, to the civic center, to the hospital and here again, nothing, not even in San Antonio," his father Federico Torres told KHOU-TV. "They don't tell us anything, only a photo, wait, hope that everything is well."

Talking to ABC News after getting the devastating confirmation, Rojelio's mother called her son a "very smart and loving child."

Rojelio's aunt Precious Perez posted, per KSAT-TV, "Our entire family waited almost 12 hours since the shooting to find out Rojelio Torres my 10 year old nephew, was killed in this tragedy. We are devastated and heartbroken. Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten."

Eliahna "Ellie" Garcia, 9

The fourth-grader and youth league basketball player was the second-oldest of five sisters.

"Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever," her father Stephen Garcia, whose child was about to turn 10, wrote on social media. "I was gonna DJ for her at her party like she wanted me too!!"

Ellie's aunt Siria Arizmendi told KHOU-TV, "She was very happy and very outgoing. She loved to dance and play sports. She was big into family, enjoyed being with the family."


Makenna Lee Elrod, 10

Makenna "made friends everywhere she went," her aunt Allison McCullough told ABC News, describing her niece as "a light to all who knew her" who loved softball, gymnastics, dancing, singing, playing with fidget toys and being with her family.


Tess Mata

"My precious angel you are loved so deeply," Faith Mata, Tess' big sister, tweeted May 24. "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."

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez

The fourth-grader and honor roll member was killed in the shooting with her cousin and classmate Jacklyn Cazares. 

Annabell's "father and his fiancé told me yesterday she loved to go to school, she was incredibly smart," KSAT 12's Leigh Waldman tweeted May 25.

Uziyah Garcia, 8

"The sweetest little boy that I've ever known," Uziyah's grandfather Manny Renfro told the Associated Press. "I'm not just saying that because he was my grandkid." He said he'd last seen the fourth-grader when the child visited during his spring break.

"We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns," Renfro said. "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."

Amerie Jo Garza, 10

The "super outgoing" fourth-grader was shot while trying to call 911, her grandmother Berlinda Irene Arreola told The Daily Beast.

Describing what she heard from law enforcement, Arreola said, "So the gunman went in and he told the children, 'You're going to die.' And she had her phone and she called 911. And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her. She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood."

Amerie "was just super-outgoing," her grandmother continued. "She had a generous heart. She was always there to lend anybody a helping hand. She was very quick to be a teacher's pet. She had just gotten her award today for A-B Honor Roll. She was very smart and she was looking forward to making a life for herself."

Maite Yuleana, 10

The fourth-grader also posed with her honor roll certificates at the ceremony held hours before the shooting. More details weren't immediately available.

Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10

The fourth-grader was looking forward to her final softball game of the season on the afternoon of May 24.

Talking to San Antonio's KENS 5 before the family received confirmation late Tuesday night that the child was among those killed, her aunt said, "I talked to her last night and she was...saying that it was her last game and she didn't want softball to end. And she was excited because they were gonna, I guess, announce the ones that made it to all-stars. 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. You're gonna be good at it. You got this.' So she was excited."

Jose Flores, 10

"He was a very happy little boy," Jose's uncle Christopher Salazar told the Washington Post of his nephew. "He loved both his parents … and loved to laugh and have fun."

The fourth-grader also loved school and playing baseball, Salazar added, and just hours before the shooting he had been presented with a certificate for making the honor roll.

Xavier Lopez, 10

A fifth-grader who would have started at Flores Middle School in the fall, Xavier "was funny, never serious, and his smile—that smile I will never forget," his mother, Felicha Martinez, told the Washington Post. "It would always cheer anyone up."

His favorite subject was art, Martinez shared, and he "loved any activity in which he could be creative and especially get to draw." Xavier also played soccer and baseball and Martinez would snap video of him dancing around the house with his brothers for her TikTok account.

Xavier too was at the honor roll ceremony held earlier that morning.

"He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today," cousin Lisa Garza told the AP. "He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us."

Alexandra "Lexi" Rubio

Lexi's parents had just seen their daughter be recognized at the honor roll ceremony as well, for getting all As and receiving a good citizen award.

"We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school," her mom, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, later wrote on Facebook. "We had no idea this was goodbye."

Dad Felix Rubio, a deputy with the Uvalde County Sheriff's Department, told CNN, reportedly through tears, "All I can hope is that she's just not a number. This is enough. No one else needs to go through this. We never needed to go through this, but we are."

Irma Garcia, 48

A 2019 finalist for a Trinity University prize recognizing excellence in her profession, Garcia was about to wrap up her 23rd year teaching at Robb Elementary. Married for more than 24 years and a mom of four kids ages 12 to 23, her school bio says she loved to barbecue with her husband, listen to music and take country cruises to Concan, Texas.

Her son Jose Garcia, a freshman at Texas State University, told the Washington Post that his mom would decorate her classroom with college pennants and other higher education-themed items. "She wanted to instill that in [the kids'] brains," he explained. "They were her lifeblood. She loved engaging with children and teaching them. She loved her job and she loved her co-workers."

Another son, Christian Garcia, told NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth that a friend in law enforcement who'd responded to the scene shared with him that he'd seen Christian's mother in her classroom and she'd had her body positioned to try to protect students.

Eva Mireles, 44

The fourth-grade teacher had been an educator for 17 years and was Garcia's co-instructor for five. Her bio on the Robb Elementary school website said she loved running and hiking and might be spotted riding a bike. She also highlighted her "supportive, fun, and loving family." Husband Ruben Ruiz is a law enforcement officer with the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.

"She did all she could to live a long life, and here it was cut short," aunt Lydia Martinez Delgado told the Washington Post.

"Her cooking was amazing," Mireles' cousin Amber Ybarra said May 25 on NBC's Today. "Her laughter was contagious, and she's going to be missed. She put her heart into everything that she did."

In a Facebook post, daughter Adalynn Ruiz (a college graduate, her mom also proudly shared on her school bio), wrote in part, "I want everything back. I want you to come back to me mom. I miss you more than words can explain...You are so known by many now and I'm so happy that people know your name and that beautiful face of yours and they know what a hero looks like."

Uvalde County Justice of the Peace Lalo Diaz told the Washington Post May 25 that investigators hoped to get the victims' bodies back to their families as soon as possible.

"I just feel horrible that the family has to wait at this time, but there's a crime scene and there's an investigation that has to take place," he said that morning. "We wish we could've gotten the kids back to their families last night...My number one concern is just to hurry up and get them back, so they can spend time with their loved ones. And it's just heartbreaking."