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The husband of a fourth-grade teacher who selflessly shielded her students during the latest U.S. mass shooting has died from “grief,” according to family.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Irma Garcia, 46, and Eva Mireles, 44, were killed Tuesday, along with dead 19 students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. According to family, both teachers shielded their students as Salvador Ramos, 18, opened fire inside the classroom.
Officers from multiple agencies responded to the school, among them both on- and off-duty Border Patrol agents. It was one of those agents, the Associated Press reported, who rushed into the school, found the shooter barricaded in a classroom, and fatally shot him. The agent was wounded in the gunfire and has since been released from the hospital.
“She passed away with children in her arms trying to protect them,” Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, wrote on Twitter.
‘Those weren’t just her students, they were her kids as well.”
A family member tweeted Thursday that Joe Garcia, Irma Garcia’s husband of 24 years, “passed away due to grief.” According to Fox 7, the couple had four children and had been married for 24 years.
BREAKING: Family members tell me Joe Garcia, the husband of Uvalde teacher Irma Garcia, just died of a heart attack. The couple had been married 24 years and has 4 children. Irma was shot and killed Tuesday trying to protect her 4th grade class. #breaking #Uvalde pic.twitter.com/X9CrD3ppXS
— Matthew Seedorff (@MattSeedorff) May 26, 2022
Meanwhile, a teacher who spoke with NBC said she sat in the middle of her room, trying to comfort and calm her students, who had been watching a Disney movie just moments before.
“They’ve been practicing for this day for years,” she said, referring to the active shooter exercises that have become a glaring part of public school education. “They knew this wasn’t a drill. We knew we had to be quiet or else we were going to give ourselves away.”
In the end, she said, police broke out the windows of her classroom, and she helped each student into the waiting arms of an officer, then looked around again to make sure no one had been missed. Some parents texted her, she said: “Thank you for keeping my baby safe.”
“But it’s not just their baby,” the teacher said through tears. “That’s my baby, too. They are not my students. They are my children.”
She added a final thought, telling the reporter she was speaking to that she wanted “this in your article”: “Our children did not deserve this. They were loved. Not only by their families, but their family at school.”
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[Feature Photo: Irma Garcia & Eva Mireles/Handout]
*Additional reporting by KC Wildmoon*