the small Texas town of Uvalde he is beginning to bury his children, killed last week in the deadliest school shooting in the United States in a decade.
Funerals are scheduled for Tuesday for two 10-year-old girls who were among 19 students, all ages 9 to 11, and two teachers killed when a gunman broke out at Robb Elementary School on May 24 and opened fire in a fourth-grade classroom.
According to obituaries on the websites of the two Uvalde funeral homes, Amerie Jo Garza was sweet, sassy, and funny, and loved to swim and draw; Maite Yuleana Rodríguez was an honor student who loved learning about whales and dolphins and she dreamed of becoming a marine biologist.
Amerie’s funeral was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde and Maite’s will be at night at a funeral home in Uvalde.
“Our focus on Tuesday is on our families who have lost loved ones,” Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a statement announcing the cancellation of a scheduled city council meeting. “We started burying our children [on Tuesday]the innocent victims of last week’s murders at Robb Elementary School.”
The small community of some 16,000 people is still recovering from the aftermath of the deadly attack, which has spurred calls in the US for stricter gun control laws, but the neighbors have joined to support each other.
This week only, funerals are planned for 11 children and teacher Irma Garcia.
On Monday, some mourners at Amerie’s visit wore lilac or lavender shades of purple, her favorites, at the request of her father, Angel Garza. Many carried flowers, including purple ones.
This week, artists scrambled to complete a mural depicting white doves on the side of the Ace Bail Bonds building near the cemetery.
“Those children were full of life and dreams,” said one of the artists, Yanira Castillo, 34, who has lived her entire life in Uvalde. “A town does not overcome that. It will affect us forever.”
As family and friends vent their grief, researchers press for answers about how police responded to the shooting, and lawmakers have said they will consider what can be done to stop the shooting. gun violence pervades the nation.
The United States Department of Justice is doing research law enforcement response to the shooting, after Texas officials revealed that students and teachers repeatedly begged 911 operators for help while a police commander told more than a dozen officers to wait in a hallway from school.
“With the benefit of hindsight … from where I’m sitting right now, of course it wasn’t the right decision,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said. told reporters on Friday. “It was a wrong decision [to wait]. There is no excuse for that.”
Pete Arredondo, chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police department, who has been criticized for his response to the shooting. He was scheduled to be sworn in as a newly elected member of the city council on Tuesday, but that meeting was postponed.
US President Joe Biden, who last year so-called mass shootings a “national embarrassment” in the US, visited Uvalde on Sunday with first lady Jill Biden and pledged to act on gun control.
On Monday, Biden expressed some optimism that there may be some bipartisan support for tightening restrictions on the type of high-powered weapons used by the attacker.
“I think things have gotten so bad that everyone is becoming more rational, at least that’s my hope,” Biden told reporters before honoring the nation’s fallen in Memorial Day remarks at the Arlington National Cemetery.
“The Second Amendment was never absolute,” Biden said, referring to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gun rights activists they often invoke to reject gun control measures. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms.”
“You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed. You couldn’t go out and buy a lot of guns,” Biden said.