Still suffering from the tragedy that struck one of his elementary schools, the small town of Uvalade, Texas, hosted a ceremony Wednesday to pay tribute to one of the two teachers who fell with 19 of their students under gunfire. Police are still hotly debated.
Irma Garcia, a 48-year-old teacher and mother of four, died when Salvador Ramos, just 18, exploded in his classroom on May 24.
The ceremony was also held in memory of her husband Joe Garcia, with whom she had been married for 24 years and who died “in mourning” two days after the genocide, leaving her four children orphaned, according to her family.
Their coffins, covered in flowers, were taken inside the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalade for a crowd attended by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“We as a nation must unite against this senseless cycle of violence and act immediately to protect our children,” Cardona said in a statement.
The couple was buried later that day.
An online fundraiser has raised about 2.8 million for their families.
Another teacher, Eva Mireles, whose room was attached to Irma Garcia, was also killed.
An 11-year-old student, according to the survivor’s testimony, who bled himself and pretended to die to escape the gunman, then looked at one of the two teachers and said “good night” and then fired, before shooting his colleague.
The assailant was later shot dead by police.
Funeral services for the 21 victims will be extended to mid-June. On Tuesday, a week after the genocide, the funeral of the first child victim, Amery Joe Garza, who had just celebrated his tenth birthday, was held.
“Funny little diva that + hated clothes +” and “had a big heart”, she dreamed of becoming an art teacher, her family described in her death.
The school where the massacre took place will not be reopened at this time, a school official said.
– Questions about the police –
The pain of the families is mixed with incomprehensibility and resentment after the police intervention, which is considered to be very long.
The class in which the shooter took refuge really needed to wait about an hour for police intervention. The 19 agents on site were waiting for a special unit to attack.
It came as law enforcement received numerous calls from people in the affected room, including a request from a child: “Please send the police now.”
According to local media, five of the injured are still in hospital in San Antonio, three adults and two children, including a 10-year-old girl in critical condition.
Texas authorities closed their doors on Friday, acknowledging that police should have acted more quickly.
The killings, like previous ones, called for tighter controls on gun access in a country where there are more guns and rifles than people.
President Joe Biden heard them on their way to Uvalade on Sunday, shouting “Do something!” On the way.
On Monday, he vowed to “keep pushing” for tougher gun rules.
“I think things have gotten so bad that it makes everyone more rational about it,” the Democratic president hoped.
But it will be difficult to get things done: his party’s narrow majority in Congress does not allow him to pass such legislation alone.
Meanwhile, the weekend following the tragedy was again marked by a series of shootings that left several dead and dozens injured.
And on Tuesday, according to local media, a grandmother was shot dead while leaving her grandson’s graduation ceremony in Louisiana.
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