Funeral of heroic girl, 10, is the first Texas school shooting victim to be buried

Amerie Jo Garza was gunned down trying to call 911 to save her classmates from gunman Salvador Ramos

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Texas: Uvalde begins funerals for victims of school massacre

The first victims of the Uvalde massacre will be buried today.

The heroic Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was about to call 911 to save her classmates when she was killed by mad gunman Salvador Ramos.

She was posthumously awarded the Girl Scout Bronze Cross for her bravery following the attack on Robb Elementary School in the Texas city last week.

Her funeral mass was held this afternoon at the Herz-Jesu Catholic Church.

Her fellow Scouts were among the hundreds of mourners, some of whom were forced to stand outside as the church was so full.

Amerie Jo Garza (right) has been confirmed dead by her father, Angel Garza (left), who said: “My little love is flying high now with the angels above.”

Others wore T-shirts with pictures of the 21 victims and the words “Know their names”.

Weeping pallbearers had red roses in the buttonholes of their white shirts as they carried Amerie Jo’s silver coffin into the church behind an undertaker carrying a cross.

A second victim, Maite Rodriguez, also 10, will be buried tonight following a ceremony at a funeral home.

The girls were among 19 children killed in the worst US school shooting in a decade.

The coffin of Amerie Jo Garza, 10, is carried to her funeral service today


(Getty Images)

Two of her teachers – Irma Garcia, 48, and Eva Mireles, 44 – were also killed trying to save her.

Irma’s husband Joe, 50, died two days later of a heart attack that his family attributed to grief.

Amerie Jo’s family described the schoolgirl – who dreamed of becoming an art teacher and was in love with her three-year-old brother Zayne – as a “protector of her classmates”.

They added: “This world will never have an Amerie again.

Mourners comfort each other at the funeral service


Phillip Harris)

“She will really be missed. She was a kind, caring, outspoken, loving, sweet, sassy and of course funny little diva who hated clothes but truly had a heart of gold.

“She loved Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks vanilla bean frappé.

“Her favorite hobbies were swimming, drawing and most of all spending time with her family.”

Among the mourners were her mother, Kimberley, her father, Alfred, and her stepfather, Angel.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Amerie Jo Garza, who died in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School


AFP via Getty Images)

They had spent Monday saying goodbye privately at a local funeral home before praying the rosary – a Catholic post-mortem ritual – over her body.

Distraught Angel broke down in an interview with local TV crews before heading to the morgue for a final goodbye.

He first learned his stepdaughter was dead from her best friend, who came home from school covered in blood.

The funeral of Amerie-Jo Garza, conducted by Rev. Eduardo D. Morales, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde, where funeral services will be held over the next two weeks for some of the victims of the Robb Primary School shooting


Phillip Harris)

He said: “I don’t want to go to the funeral home. I don’t want people’s condolences. I just want my baby back.”

After Mass, Amerie Jo’s body was taken to a local cemetery for a private burial.

Maite’s family – who wanted to be marine biologists – said they “received their angel wings” in a tribute released by the funeral home ahead of their ceremony.

People hug at the entrance of the funeral home where Amerie Jo Garza is located



They added: “Maite was a sweet girl and those who knew and loved her were blessed with her kind, ambitious, kind and sweet soul.

“She was an honor student who enjoyed learning about animals and the sea, especially dolphins, whales and dogs.

“She dreamed of going to the University of Texas at Corpus Christi to become a marine biologist because she cares about wildlife and the animals that live in it.”

At the Catholic Sacred Heart Church, where the funeral service for young Amerie Jo Garza was held



Family members – including mother Ana, stepfather Danilo, father Adrean and stepmother Dayami – spent yesterday and today with her body in the morgue. They also prayed the Rosary together.

Ramos – who just days earlier had bought two AK15 rifles for his 18th birthday – was shot dead by Border Patrol officers more than 40 minutes after emergency services were alerted last Tuesday.

US justice chiefs have now opened an investigation to find out whether the response time cost lives.

Before arriving at the school, Ramos shot his 66-year-old grandmother, Celia Gonzalez, in the face. She is still being treated at a San Antonio hospital 90 miles away.

Theirs is the first in a series of funerals and wakes for the 21 victims


(Getty Images)

Rev. Father Eduardo Morales, who presided over Amerie Jo’s funeral, said he will work with the victims’ families to help them forgive Ramos.

Father Morales, 62, who grew up in Uvalde, said: “Part of this journey for families is being able to forgive the young man who did this.

“The only people who get hurt when they don’t find that peace and forgiveness are themselves.

“I told them, ‘It’s okay to be angry.’ Of course they are angry – everyone is. But it’s very important that they don’t let their anger turn to hate.

Pallbearers carrying the ten-year-old to her funeral after she was gunned down at school



“Then it’s harder to find inner peace. We have to give them space and time to find healing.”

Father Morales will hold at least 11 more funeral Masses in the coming days.

Irma and Joe Garcia will be buried tomorrow (WED) after a joint ceremony at the church.

Some ceremonies are still being arranged as funeral homes – which have waived family fees – are struggling to keep up with demand.

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