They were rural kids in Texas, and teachers who loved hiking and bar-b-cue—and who earned praise for their patience teaching special needs children.
On Tuesday, they became victims in the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history, following the deadly 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut.
At least 19 children and two adults were killed on Tuesday at Robb Elementary in the small, rural, majority-Latino town of Uvalde, Texas, about 80 miles from San Antonio. All of those killed in the school were barricaded into a single classroom, a Texas law enforcement official said on Wednesday.
The shooting took place just two days before the end of the school year, at a time when year-end festivities had already begun. Just hours before the shooting, many of the kids were honored in front of their families. The school teaches students in the second, third, and fourth grades, ages roughly 7 to 10.
The shooter, an 18-year-old student at the local Uvalde High School, was described by people who knew him as obsessed with guns, and a young man with a cruel, violent streak.
Details of the victims’ names and lives began to slowly emerge overnight on Tuesday as law enforcement officials informed families.
Layla Salazar, 10
Layla Salazar was an energetic 10-year-old at Robb Elementary School that participated in track and field events, her father shared in a Facebook post.
“We Love you Baby girl,” Vinnie Salazar wrote. “Daddy is sorry I wasn’t there to protect you when you needed me the most. we Love you so much fly high my little angel fly high…”
He also shared that the two loved to jam to “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Guns N’ Roses on the way to school. “It’s the only thing that’s bringing me peace right now,” he said.
Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
Makenna Lee Elrod was in the fourth grade at Robb Elementary School.
“She was beautiful, funny, smart, and amazing. She had the biggest heart and loved her family and friends so much," her aunt, Allison McCullogh, wrote in a GoFundMe post.
Her sister shared a photo on Twitter of the two of them. "My baby sister has finally been found in a classroom,” she tweeted. “All I ask is that you hug your loved ones tonight and tell them you love them, you never know when you won’t have the chance to anymore.”
Alithia Ramirez, 10
Alithia Ramirez was a young, creative soul who “loved to draw,” Rosa Maria Ramirez, the 10-year-old's grandmother, told ABC News. She said Mother’s Day was the last time she saw her granddaughter.
“She was real sweet,” she said. “Never getting into trouble.”
Miranda Mathis, 11
The mother of Miranda Mathis’ best friend described Mathis as very loving and talkative, local news station KTHV 11 reported. She was in the fourth grade.
“My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly," Deanna Miller wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m so sorry this happen to u baby please keep my family in your prayers.”
Neveah Bravo, 10
“We thought that she was missing, but lo and behold we heard late last night that she didn’t make it. We were all devastated,” he said.
Ayala described his cousin as someone who wanted to “put a smile on everyone’s faces.”
Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Rubio, 10
Moments before the shooting unfolded at 11:32 am on Tuesday, Alexandria Rubio was photographed with her family holding her honor roll certificate, which she earned with straight A’s. She was also recognized with a “good citizen” award.
“We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school,” her mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, posted on Facebook. “We had no idea this was goodbye.”
Tess Mata, 10
Tess Mata’s older sister Faith confirmed her death, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Faith Mata tweeted, “My precious angel you are loved so deeply. In my eyes you are not a victim but a survivor.”
Rojelio Torres, 10
Rojelio Torres was a “very smart and loving child,” his mother told ABC News.
“We are devastated and heartbroken. [Rojelio] was a very intelligent, hardworking, and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten,” his aunt told the network.
Maite Rodriguez, 10
Maite Rodriguez had dreams of being a marine biologist, her aunt shared in a Facebook post.
Rodriguez was her mom's “best friend” and the “light of her life,” she said. “Her mom wants everyone to know that her baby girl had a dream.”
Jailah Nicole Silguero, 11
Jalilah Nicole Siguero went to Robb Elementary with her cousin Jayce Luevanos. They were classmates in the fourth grade, taught by Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, teachers who died in the shooting, Silguero’s mother shared on Facebook.
“We miss you so much mama R.I.P my beautiful angel fly high baby can't wait to see u again,” her mother said in her post.
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
Jayce Luevanos went to Robb Elementary with his cousin Jalilah Nicole Siguero. Their grandfather had just died two weeks ago, Zeke Luevanos told ABC.
They were “angels” who “always had a smile on their face,” Zeke said. “I can't believe this happened.”
Jackie Cazares, 10
Jackie Cazares went to Robb Elementary with her cousin, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez. The two were almost finished the school year when the massacre happened, ABC confirmed.
“My baby girl has been taken away from my family and I,” Jacinto Cazares, the girl's father, said in a Facebook post. “Taken out of arms and lives, in this freaking cowardly way, so young, so innocent, full of life and love.”
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez was a student in third grade who had just received her end of year honors certificate at Robb Elementary School before the shooting took place, local media confirmed.
The 10-year-old's cousin, Jackie Cazares, was also killed in the attack, ABC confirmed.
Ellie Garcia, 10
“Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever… I was gonna DJ for her at her party like she wanted me to,” Ellie Garcia’s father, Steve Garcia, said in a Facebook post.
The 10-year-old was a fourth grade student at Robb Elementary.
She played basketball with the Tree City Youth Sports League run by the town of Uvalde, the Hillsboro Sports Association shared in a photo.
Elihana Torres, 10
A fourth grade student at Robb Elementary, Elihana Torres played on the local softball team.
Speaking with local media, her aunt said Elihana had mixed emotions about her last softball game of the season. “She was very excited about her softball game [yesterday]. She was kind of nervous,” her aunt told KENS 5 San Antonio. “I talked to her [Monday] night and she was kind of nervous, saying that it was her last game and she didn’t want softball to end.”
José Manuel Flores Jr., 10
José Manuel Flores Jr. was a fourth grade student at Robb. He received his honors certificate in front of his family just hours before the school shooting occurred, his mom, Andrea Herrera, confirmed to VICE News.
“I didn’t know walking you back to your teacher was going to be our last ‘see you later,’” Herrera wrote in a Facebook post. “I can’t believe my babyyyy is gone.”
Amerie Jo Garza, 10
Amerie Jo Garza celebrated her 10th birthday two weeks ago, her father, Angel Garza, told ABC News.
On Wednesday, Angel posted pictures of himself and his daughter on Facebook, writing: “My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
Xavier Lopez, 10
Xavier Lopez was in the fourth grade, his family told ABC News.
Xavier’s mother last saw her son at an awards ceremony about one or two hours before her son was killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary, his cousin told ABC.
Uziyah Garcia, 8
Eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia’s grandfather, Manny Renfro, called him “the sweetest little boy I’ve ever known,” according to Sky News.
"I am not just saying that because he was my grandkid," Renfro said.
Renfro described a kid who loved football and showed a natural talent during a visit in San Angelo during spring break.
“We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns. Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,” Renfro said.
Eva Mireles, 44
Eva Mireles taught fourth grade, according to her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) website.
She was a teacher for 17 years, and she loved spending time outdoors: running, hiking and biking, according to the site. Her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, said Mireles was married, had a child, was “very loved” and took pride in teaching many students of Latino heritage, Delgado told the New York Times.
“Welcome to the 4th grade!” Mireles wrote on the UCISD web site. “We have a wonderful year ahead of us!”
Audrey Garcia, the mother of one of Mireles’ former students, told the Washington Post she’d never forget the attention Mireles paid to her daughter, now 23.
“My daughter has Down syndrome, and she was one of the first students at that time to be included in a regular classroom,” Garcia told the Post.
Irma Garcia, 46
Irma Garcia had been co-teaching with Mireles for five years, and 2022 marked the start of her 23rd year as a teacher.
That was one year less than she’d been married to her husband, Joe. The couple had four children, she wrote on the UCISD site, and they loved to share bar-b-cue, listen to music, and take trips to the nearby rural community of Concan.
This story is developing and will be updated.