First responder to Texas school shooting arrived on scene to discover his daughter had died

ITV News Reporter Robert Moore reports on the grief being felt by those in Uvalde and their pleas for President Biden and congress to change gun laws

A first responder who was called to the scene of the Uvalde mass school shooting told of the heartbreaking moment he discovered his daughter was one of the victims.

10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza was one of 19 children killed alongside their two teachers after a gunman opened fire on their fourth grade classroom at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.

Her father, Angel Garza, arrived at the scene shortly after the attack and began offering medical assistance to children streaming out of the school wounded and in shock.

"One little girl was just covered in blood - head to toe. I thought she was injured," Mr Garza told CNN.

"She was hysterical saying that they shot her best friend, they killed her best friend and she’s not breathing - and that she was trying to call the cops.

"I asked the little girl the name and she said Amerie."

Mr Garza told CNN Amerie 'died trying to save her classmates'

However, like many parents, it would be hours before he got official confirmation that his little girl had died. He posted on Facebook in the aftermath of the attack saying he had been waiting for seven hours for an update on her whereabouts.

He later shared an update saying their worst fears had been confirmed and Amerie was "flying high with the angels above".

Amerie celebrated her 10th birthday on May 10. She received her first mobile phone as a present - something she'd been wanting for a long time, he said.

Just over two weeks later, she was shot by Salvador Ramos, 18, while she tried to call the police after he opened fire.

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"I just want people to know that she died trying to save her classmates. She just wanted to save everyone," said Mr Garza.

All of the victims were in one classroom and the gunman barricaded himself inside "shooting anyone" in the room, said a state public safety official.

Amerie was one of 19 children killed in the attack. Credit: Angel Garza/Facebook

Ramos is said to have been carrying a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle, before he was killed by law enforcement, according to officials.

Holding a picture of Amerie taken after winning her honour roll school award, he said through tears: "How do you look at this girl and just shoot her? My baby. How do you shoot my baby?"

Amerie, who her dad described as 'the sweetest little girl', pictured with her school award. Credit: CNN

He described the heartbreak of coming to terms with Amerie's killing and said their three-year-old son Zayne "asks for his sister every morning when he wakes up", while his wife is "beating herself up so bad".

"She (Amerie) was so scared of strangers and things like this, she would lock the door when I would step out to put gas in the car. This is literally her worst fear," he said.

"She was sweetest little girl who did nothing wrong. She listened to her mom and dad, she always brushed her teeth, she was creative, she made things for us, she never got in trouble at school.

"I just want to know what she did to be a victim."

The other 18 children killed in the shooting have been named alongside Amerie, including Uziyah Garcia, Makenna Lee Elrod, Tess Marie Mata, Lexi Rubio, Nevaeh Bravo, Miranda Mathis, Alithia Ramirez and Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez.

Xavier Javier Lopez, Elijah Cruz Torres, Jackie Cazares, Layla Salazar, Rojelia Torres, Eliahna Garcia, Maite Rodriguez, Jose Flores, and cousins Jayce Carmelo Luevanos and Jailah Nicole Silguero have also been named.

Relatives of their teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, said they had also been killed in the attack.