Families gathered at a civic center that night to learn whether their loved ones had survived. Some had the grim task of providing DNA swabs to help investigators determine whether their family members was among the victims.
As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 13 families said they had received devastating news. The bodies of nine victims were released to funeral homes Wednesday evening, Judge Lalo Diaz told CNN. The remaining 12 bodies of victims will be released either later Wednesday night or Thursday, Diaz said.
Here’s what friends and relatives want everyone to remember about the people they lost:
Garcia was a wife and mother to four children, the GoFundMe campaign said.
“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 said.
“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 Post on Wednesday. “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.”
Amerie Jo Garza
For seven hours, Angel Garza scrambled to find his 10-year-old daughter, Amerie Jo. He pleaded for the public’s help on Facebook.
“I don’t ask for much or hardly even post on here but please It’s been seven hours and I still haven’t heard anything on my love,” Garza wrote. “Please help me find my daughter.”
On Wednesday morning, Garza gave a heartbreaking update.
“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby. She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above,” Garza posted.
“Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
Garza told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday his daughter had just turned 10 years old two weeks ago. The family gifted her with a phone, which she had been asking for, Garza said.
Garza found out his daughter was trying to use her phone to call authorities during the shooting, two students told him. He explained he’s med-aid and responded to the scene where he saw one girl covered in blood who told him that someone had shot her best friend. When Garza asked who her best friend was, the girl said his daughter’s name.
“I just want people to know she died trying to save her classmates. She just wanted to save everyone,” Garza said.
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.
“She was the sweetest girl who did nothing wrong,” Garza said, breaking down. “I just wanna know what she did to be a victim.”
A fourth-grade teacher, Eva Mireles, was also killed 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.”
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 was to share 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.
The family of 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia told CNN that their fourth-grader was among those killed at Robb Elementary.
Uziyah was “full of life,” according to an uncle, Mitch Renfro. He loved video games and anything with wheels, and leaves behind two sisters.
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.”
Jose Flores Jr.
Jose Flores Jr., 10, was also among those killed at Robb Elementary, his father Jose Flores Sr. told CNN.
Flores described the fourth grader as an amazing kid and big brother to his three siblings. Jose 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 is just nine months younger than her brother. Both were in fourth grade at Robb Elementary, though Endrea was in a different class. What she appreciated most about her older brother, she said, “that he would always support me and he would always play with me.”
Felix and Kimberly Rubio had just celebrated their daughter Lexi’s achievements at school before she was killed.
Lexi, who was 10 years old and in the fourth grade, had made the All-A honor roll and received a good citizen award, her parents told CNN.
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.”
Tess Marie Mata
Tess was in the fourth grade and loved TikTok dances, Ariana Grande and the Houston Astros, Faith Mata told the Post.
Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo
Austin Ayala told the paper the family is devastated after losing Nevaeh, whom he said put a smile on everyone’s face
Eliana ‘Ellie’ Garcia
She loved the movie “Encanto,” cheerleading and basketball, according to her grandparents. They add that she dreamed of becoming a teacher.
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez
She was a third-grader at the school. Her family told KHOU that she was in the same classroom as her cousin, Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, who was also shot and killed.
Eliahana ‘Elijah’ Cruz Torres
Eliahana “Elijah” Cruz Torres, 10, was also killed in the shooting, her aunt Leandra Vera told CNN. “Our baby gained her wings,” Vera said.
Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares
Social media posts from the family of Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares confirm that she was among the victims of the Uvalde, Texas, shooting.
Cazares, 9, was killed along with her cousin, friend and classmate Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez. The two were both in the fourth grade at Robb Elementary.
“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.”
“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.
CNN’s Jose Lesh, Amanda Jackson, Nicole Chavez, Chris Boyette, Sara Smart, Jeffrey Winter, Caroll Alvarado, David Williams, Sara Smart, Amanda Watts and Raja Razek contributed to this report.