“She was going to be someone.” Families and friends remember the victims of the Ovaldi school massacre, where the first funerals are held


“She loved animals,” Destiny Esquivel’s cousin told CNN reporter Adrienne Broaddus Monday. “She was determined. She was smart. She was going to be a person.”

“Her classmates said she was brave,” Esquivel said. “They grabbed all the other students, and told them where they were hiding.” “She’s a hero.”

The heavy loss of 21 lives has left a community in South Texas deeply injured as they gather to support each other.

Nineteen will be of those who are buried Buried in designated chests Offered by a Texas company at no cost to families. The two funeral services in Ovaldi also pledged to cover all expenses as more services are scheduled for Tuesday and continue until next week.
A mass was held on Monday for the 10-year-old child Amiri Joe Garzawhose father learned last week from two of her classmates that Amiri tried to call 911 during the shooting.

“I just want people to know that she died trying to save her classmates,” Angel Garcia said on Wednesday. “She just wanted to save everyone.”

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The visiting room was filled with flowers and stuffed animals, as family and friends gathered to commemorate, according to a CNN affiliate. KTRK.

Gustavo García Celler, Archbishop of San Antonio, said he plans to support families with love, tenderness and compassion.

“I show through gestures and expressions of concern, in a way to express that it’s a community and that so many people around the world think about them and struggle with them,” he told CNN.

“We need to approach each of them differently because every family is different. Every child is unique. And so we will try to do our best and then assure them again with gestures that we will be (there) for them in the long run. It is not just this moment” .

The police chief’s decision is in question

Ovaldi City Council was due to take the oath with its new members on Tuesday, but that The meeting has been postponed The mayor said because of the funerals.

“Our focus on Tuesday is on our families who have lost loved ones,” Mayor Don McLaughlin said Monday in a statement. “We begin burying our children tomorrow, the innocent victims of last week’s murders at Robb Elementary School. The special city council meeting will not take place as scheduled.”

One of the newly elected city councilors is Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, the school’s chief of police His decision to retreat and wait for reinforcements During the massacre he was severely criticized.
a timetable The one provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows that the gunman was in a classroom with students for more than an hour before he was shot and killed by a Border Patrol Tactical Response Team. Officers responded within minutes of the suspect entering the classroom, but were repelled by the gunman’s fire and then stationed in the hallway awaiting reinforcements, even as the children called 911 and asked for police help.
DPS Colonel Stephen McCraw confirmed that the Ovaldi School District Police Chief was the official who made the decision not to breach the classroom – although McCraw did not identify Arredondo by name. said the decision to Curb instead of rush In closed classes it was a “mistake”.
The school district police chief will not be sworn in on Tuesday as the city council meeting for funerals has been postponed
One student told CNN that his teacher, who was hit by a gunfire in an adjacent classroom, Text message 911 for help.
A video filmed outside the school during the accident. Obtained by ABC Newsincluding what appears to be an audio transmission notifying officers at the scene that a child is calling 911 from a classroom.

“We were advised to have a child on the line,” says the dispatcher. “The child advises him that he is in the room full of victims.”

The video indicates that the police at the scene were informed that at least one child was still alive inside the classrooms.

CNN was unable to independently confirm the video/audio. It is unclear where the video came from and at what point in the incident the audio was heard. CNN has reached out to authorities to answer questions about this audio.

Additionally, a Facebook Live video outside Robb Elementary School during the shooting apparently includes a radio call of a child saying he was shot.

The video, filmed by a man who spoke to CNN but did not want to be identified publicly, includes a male voice asking, “Let me see. Let me see. Are you injured?” A voice replies, “I’ve been hurt!”

Although the voice sounds like a child’s, it is not clear if the voice was a student, teacher, or law enforcement official.

The man who recorded the video says the audio came from the radio in a Customs and Border Protection vehicle outside the school. It’s unclear why the conversation took place on this radio, but the man said it was stopped after officers realized he was listening in on it.

An off-duty border agent who entered the school speaking

In an interview day “Today” on NBC Tuesday morningUS Customs and Border Protection agent Jacob Albarado spoke of entering Robb Elementary School during the shooting.

Al Prado said he was at school earlier that morning for his second-grader daughter’s awards ceremony with his wife, a fourth-grade teacher there. He was at a barber shop in town when he received a text message from his wife about the active shooter.

Even though he’s off duty, head to the school armed with a razor gun and some ammo. “Virtually all of the local law enforcement know me, or I know the majority of them, so I was able to come in and announce who I was and make my way,” he said.

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“I could see the kids coming out of the windows and kids coming in my way. So I was just helping all the kids. I was trying to call my wife, to find out where my wife is,” El Parado told NBC. “The police were breaking windows outside and kids were jumping out of the window.”

Once, he found himself outside the classroom door where a shooter barricaded himself but decided not to attempt to enter.

“I was there at the door to get in, but then again, I didn’t have any of my gear,” he said. “That wasn’t a smart move for me. All these guys had their gear and their stuff,” he said.

El Parado did not criticize the police, who responded.

“For me, I think everyone out there was doing their best,” he told NBC.

A community supported by near and far

Help continues to flow from neighbors as well as from strangers.

Carlos Hernandez, whose restaurant is located one mile from Robb Elementary School, served more than 60 family dishes in less than two hours to feed families and neighbors in mourning Thursday.

“It’s a real tough situation, I’m just trying to show the kids that they make up our backbone and support system,” Hernandez told CNN. “We always deliver, whether there is an accident or not.”

team of Emotional support dogs Their dependents have traveled to Ovaldi and will be stationed in the town square this week – eight Golden Retrievers wear blue “please spoil me” jackets.
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“A lot of times after something like this people don’t want to talk to a human,” Bonnie Fair, crisis response coordinator at Lutheran Church Charities told CNN. “After traumatic events, people don’t want to deal with people, sometimes they just want that thing they can touch and talk to without judging them, and it’s pretty much that simple.”

“They show unconditional love,” she added, referring to the dogs.

Elsewhere, El Progreso Memorial Library has become a place of healing.

On Wednesday, the day after the shooting, children’s librarian Martha Carrion sat in front of rows of little faces reading, singing and laughing with the children, and took them away to a safe place away from school where many of them became witnesses. for horror.

“We want the building to be a safe place, a quiet, peaceful and wonderful refuge,” Mindel Morgan, director of El Progreso Memorial Library told CNN.

Alaa Al-Assar, Holly Yan, Nick Watt, Mark Morales, Joe Sutton, Aya Al-Amrousy, Teresa Waldrop, Amanda Watts, Virginia Langmaid, Aaron Cooper and Paula Reed contributed to this report.