Mourners gather as funerals begin for murders at Ovaldi School


Ovaldi, Texas (AP) – The pallbearers wore white shirts and gloves. The desert brown church with its tall bell tower was once flooded. The casket was carrying a 10-year-old girl who liked the color purple.

On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of mourners attended the funeral service for Amiri Jo Garza, a smiling fourth-grader who was murdered a week ago when 18 years old Salvador Ramos broke into it Uvald, Texas Elementary school and opened fire on her class. Amiri’s funeral was the first since the massacre, and Mighty Rodriguez’s funeral is scheduled for later Tuesday at a funeral home in Ovaldi.

Nineteen more funerals are planned over the next two and a half weeks For 19 children and two teachers who were killed in that chapter on May 24.

Mrs. Erica Santiago, her husband and their two children were wearing purple shirts emblazoned with pictures of Amiri’s funeral victims. She described Amiri as a “nice little girl who smiles a lot” and “very modest and attractive but full of life”.

Santiago said her 10-year-old son, Adriel, watched in horror when news reports first showed pictures of people killed and recognized his friends Emery and Mighty.

“He told me he didn’t want to go to school for fear of that happening,” Santiago said. “He told me, Mom, I just don’t feel safe.”

One of the teachers, 48-year-old Irma Garcia, was also visited on Tuesday, along with visits by children Neve Bravo and Jose Flores Jr.

Vincent Salazar’s 11-year-old daughter, Lila, has the last services scheduled – her visit on June 15 with the funeral the next day. Salazar said the family likely won’t see Leila’s body until shortly before the visit.

“I understand there are other kids too, but we’re waiting to get her back,” Salazar said. “That’s all we focus on.”

Pace Ovaldi County Judge Eulalio “Lalo” Diaz Jr. said the bodies of all 21 victims were first sent to the San Antonio medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, which he said is a standard for a major crime. Then, since there was not enough space in Ovaldi’s funeral homes, many corpses were sent to funeral homes outside the city until near the liturgy. He said Ovaldi’s funeral homes are working with families to decide when to see their loved ones.

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“The main reason is the number of victims,” Diaz said, asking, “Where do you store so many people?”

Diaz said the autopsy was complete. He declined to discuss preliminary results and said final reports would take three to four months.

Vincent Salazar said he and his family will go to as many visits as possible to pay respects to the other victims and their families.

“We don’t necessarily have to go to funerals because we’re still taking care of things hour by hour, day in and day out, here,” Salazar said. “We have a lot of things going on with our district. You have to prepare everything – obituaries, death certificates, funeral arrangements.

“That’s all we’re focused on right now — her, getting her back and being able to bring her back to rest,” Salazar said of Lily. “This is it.”

Investigators continue to search for answers about How did the police respond? To the shooting, the United States Ministry of Justice Reviews law enforcement actions.

The horrific delay in killing the gunman – even as parents outside were begging the police to rush to the kids who called 911 from the inside – were blamed on the school district’s local police chief, Arredondo’s houseafter the state police chief said Arredondo made a “wrong decision” not to breach the classroom, believing the gunman was shielded inside and that the children were not in danger.

Stephen McCro, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday that after tracking the gunman into the building, officers waited more than an hour to breach the classroom. The revelations raised new questions about whether lives were lost because officers did not move faster to stop the gunman, who was eventually killed by Border Patrol tactical officers.

State Police said Tuesday That the teacher who at one time props up an outside door The school closed it before the gunman used it to enter.

But the police said the door was not locked. The authorities originally said that Ramos entered through the door they had opened.

Instead, investigators said the teacher, who has not been identified, slammed the open door when she realized there was a shooter on campus and ran to get her phone and call 911, said Travis Considine, the chief communications officer for the Texas State Department of Texas. Public Safety. Investigators are looking into why the door was not locked.

Jacob Albarado, an off-duty Border Patrol officer who rushed to school with a shotgun borrowed from his barber, said Tuesday it was a mess when he arrived looking for his daughter and wife. He said both of them were not physically harmed in the attack.

“For me, I think everyone out there was doing their best given the circumstances,” he said. Today Show on NBC. “I think everyone there was doing everything they could.”

Authorities said Ramos legally purchased two handguns shortly before the school attack: an AR rifle on May 17 and a second shotgun on May 20. He was already 18 years old, which allows him to purchase guns under federal law.

President Joe Biden A long-planned meeting on Tuesday with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern turned to gun control after what happened in Ovaldi and a week earlier. in Buffalo, New York10 black people were killed by a racist convert. substitution theory.

Ardern won passage of gun control measures after a white supremacist killed 51 Muslim worshipers at two Christchurch mosques in 2019. Less than a month later, all but one of the country’s 120 lawmakers voted in favor of banning semi-automatic weapons.

Biden told reporters he would “meet Congress on guns, I promise,” but the White House acknowledged that winning new legislation on guns would be an uphill climb in an evenly divided Congress.


Salter reported from O’Fallon, Missouri.


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