Uvalde: The Texas city in mourning for school children that should never have been killed

Raquel Martinez, comforts her two daughters while her husband, Daniel Martinez, comforts their sons outside Robb Elementary School, on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Martinez and her four children stayed home for days, holding each other. They're scared, she said. Her two daughters, 15 and 11 years old, stood crying at a memorial. They'd both been taught by the two teachers who died, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
The Martinez family comfort one another, having lost school friends and teachers in the shooting. Credit: AP
  • ITV News' Alex Cherrie reports from Uvalde, Texas

This week should have marked the start of summer break for Robb Elementary School. Instead, the community of Uvalde is facing funerals for 11 of its students and one teacher - just some of the 21 killed.

Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home saw bereaved family, friends and residents on Monday pay respects to 10-year old Amerie Jo Garza.

It is less than 20 metres from where she, and 20 other students and teachers, were shot dead on Tuesday last week.

Amerie has been hailed a hero in the community for bravely trying to raise the alarm during the school shooting by calling 911 in the midst of the attack. She has been described as bright, outgoing and will be remembered by her family for her beautiful smile.

Her funeral on Tuesday was the first of the victims of the attack. Hundreds of mourners turned up for an afternoon Mass, where six pallbearers wore white shirts and gloves to carry her small casket into Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which turned away several mourners after reaching capacity.  

Another wake, for another student, 10-year-old, Maite Rodriguez took place at the town's other funeral home on Monday. Her funeral was scheduled for later on Tuesday.

'She looks at peace'

After returning from the service, her teenage cousin Destiny Esquival told me that Maite had looked beautiful and at peace in her white dress. She told me how funny, independent, and clever she was.

The sense of complete heartbreak was overwhelming as Destiny relayed childhood stories the two shared. Underneath this, I noticed there was a driven anger there too.

She eventually told me that she wants to know why this incident had such a tragic ending, when perhaps, it shouldn't have had.

The sense that the situation could have been handled better by law enforcement is a common feeling among residents in Uvalde and across Texas. 

Newly released police communication reveals they almost certainly knew children had been injured, as ITV News US Correspondent Robert Moore reports

Internal disputes within the state have played out over the weekend after it came to light that 90 minutes had elapsed between the time the gunman entered the school and when US Border Patrol Agents killed him. 

The Justice Department has announced a review into the actions and responses of authorities that day, but some residents have told me that the damage has already been done.

The next two and a half weeks are going to be traumatic for the people of Uvalde, with funerals and visitations taking place one after the other.

Beneath the grief, the investigation into what exactly happened during one of America's most notorious mass school shootings, will seek answers.

A week on from this tragedy, with several funeral services ahead, it is hard to know what will ever bring peace to the families here, but the search for it will continue. 

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