Irma Garcia, 46, and Eva Mireles, 44, were shot dead alongside 19 students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday, May 24 in the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S.
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The two teachers killed in the Texas school massacre died heroes trying to protect their students from the gunman who stormed their classroom and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle.

Irma Garcia, 46, and Eva Mireles, 44, were shot dead alongside 19 students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday, May 24 in the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S.

The fourth grade teachers selflessly used their bodies to shield as many students as they could from shooter Salvador Ramos, 18, according to a relative.

‘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.’ 

On Thursday, Martinez also confirmed that Garcia’s husband, Joe Garcia, was confirmed to have suffered a fatal heart attack.  The couple left behind four children.

‘EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, i truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy,’ Martinez tweeted. 

Mireles’ daughter revealed how her mother ‘jumped in front of students’ in a heartbreaking tribute on Wednesday. 

‘I don’t know how to do this life without you, but I will take care of dad. I will take care of our dogs and I will forever say your name so you are always remembered, Eva Mireles, 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary who selflessly jumped in front of her students to save their lives,’ Adalynn Ruiz wrote on Facebook.

The grandmother of one of the children who narrowly escaped the mass shooting said her granddaughter heard  Ramos say ‘what do I have here?’ when he entered the classroom. 

‘My granddaughter can’t take that out of her mind what he said… she had to run out the window,’ Anita Alves told ITV.com. 

Irma Garcia, 46, and Eva Mireles, 44, were shot dead alongside 19 students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday, May 24 in the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S.

Irma Garcia, 46, and Eva Mireles, 44, were shot dead alongside 19 students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday, May 24 in the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S. 

Garcia 'passed away with children in her arms trying to protect them' according to her nephew John Martinez

Garcia ‘passed away with children in her arms trying to protect them’ according to her nephew John Martinez

Mireles 'jumped in front of her students to save their lives' according to her daughter Adalynn Ruiz

Mireles ‘jumped in front of her students to save their lives’ according to her daughter Adalynn Ruiz

'She passed away with children in her arms trying to protect them,' Garcia's nephew John Martinez wrote on Twitter

‘She passed away with children in her arms trying to protect them,’ Garcia’s nephew John Martinez wrote on Twitter

On Thursday, Martinez also confirmed that Garcia's husband, Joe Garcia, was confirmed to have suffered a fatal heart attack. The couple left behind four children

On Thursday, Martinez also confirmed that Garcia’s husband, Joe Garcia, was confirmed to have suffered a fatal heart attack. The couple left behind four children

Garcia, a married mother of four, had taught at Robb Elementary for 23 years and was previously named ‘teacher of the year’.

She was one of 19 San Antonio-area educators named as finalists for Trinity University’s prize for excellence in teaching in 2019. 

Garcia at the time taught third grade, specializing in social studies and ELAR, or English Language Arts and Reading.

‘I am so excited to begin this new school year already!’ she wrote on the school district’s website before the start of the school year.

Garcia often shared her personal life and passions with her students, who she considered her children, including her love of barbecuing with her husband of 24 years, Joe. 

Family members confirmed on Thursday that Joe had also passed away as a result of a medical emergency. 

‘Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life of more than 30 years was too much to bear,’ Debra Austin, Garcia’s cousin, announced on the GoFundMe page to raise funds for funeral costs. 

Their eldest son is at military boot camp while her second son attends Texas State University and she has two younger daughters as well.

Garcia’s husband and son can be seen in a Facebook photo holding a heart-shaped sign that reads ‘Proud Bobcat family,’ – a nod to the football team at Texas State.

Mireles was trained in bilingual and special education, loved outdoor activities such as running and hiking, and cherished her husband, daughter and ‘three furry friends,’ according to a biography on the school’s website.

Her husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a police officer on the school district’s police force, the agency investigating the massacre.

Mireles’ daughter recounted on social media how her mother had asked her to take a picture to share on the school’s website.

‘I remember my mom making me take this picture of her and she had me take like 50 before she found one she liked, she wanted it to be perfect because she had to send it into the school website for her students to see, my mom had a special place in her heart for her students . Remember this hero,’ Adalynn Ruiz wrote. 

Mireles’ aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, grieved for her niece in a Facebook post, asking for prayers for her family and the entire town of Uvalde. 

‘I’m furious that these shootings continue. These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all. This is my hometown, a small community of less than 20,000. I never imagined this would happen to especially loved ones,’ she said in a statement.

Garcia often shared her personal life and passions with her students, who she considered her children, including her love of barbecuing with her husband of 24 years, Joe

 Garcia often shared her personal life and passions with her students, who she considered her children, including her love of barbecuing with her husband of 24 years, Joe

Mireles' daughter, Adalynn Ruiz, penned a tribute to her mother who was trained in bilingual and special education

Mireles’ daughter, Adalynn Ruiz, penned a tribute to her mother who was trained in bilingual and special education

Garcia, a married mother of four, was named 'teacher of the year' at the school where she had worked for 23 years

Garcia, a married mother of four, was named ‘teacher of the year’ at the school where she had worked for 23 years

Mireles' (left) husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a police officer on the school district's police force, the agency investigating the massacre

Mireles’ (left) husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a police officer on the school district’s police force, the agency investigating the massacre

Garcia's eldest son is at military boot camp while her second son attends Texas State University and she has two younger daughters as well

Garcia’s eldest son is at military boot camp while her second son attends Texas State University and she has two younger daughters as well

‘All we can do is pray hard for our country, state, schools, and especially the families of all.’

Uvalde, nearly 80 miles west of San Antonio, has about 16,000 residents with almost 80percent of them Hispanic or Latino, according to US Census data. 

There were two days left in the school year when Tuesday’s massacre unfolded. 

Uvalde has canceled schools across the district for the remainder of the year and established grief counseling for survivors. 

Frightening details have been steadily emerged since the tragedy, which was the 27th shooting at a K-12 school in the U.S. this year according to Education Week.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott revealed that the killer also shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before heading to Robb Elementary School.

Ramos went on social media to share his plan to attack his grandmother – who, though gravely injured, was able to alert police.

He then messaged again to say his next target was a school, where he headed clad in body armor and wielding an AR-15 rifle. 

Abbott repeatedly brushed aside suggestions for tougher gun laws in Texas when pressed on how the teen was able to obtain the murder weapon.

Mireles' family has created a GoFundMe to help her daughter and husband in the aftermath of the tragedy

Mireles’ family has created a GoFundMe to help her daughter and husband in the aftermath of the tragedy 

Mourners on Thursday place flowers on crosses with the names of children killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

Mourners on Thursday place flowers on crosses with the names of children killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas 

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Garcia's four children, who have also lost their father

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Garcia’s four children, who have also lost their father  

The Garcias had been married for 24 years

The Garcias had been married for 24 years 

‘I consider this person to have been pure evil,’ Abbott said, articulating a position commonly held among US Republicans – that unfettered access to weapons is not to blame for the country’s gun violence epidemic. 

Abbott’s stance was echoed by the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby, which issued a statement labeling the shooter as ‘a lone, deranged criminal.’

But the governor has been called out by rival Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

O’Rourk, who is running to be the state’s next governor, loudly interrupted a press briefing on Wednesday to accuse Abbott of deadly inaction.

‘This is on you,’ heckled O’Rourke, a fervent gun control advocate.

‘You are doing nothing! This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.’

O’Rourke’s interruption came a day after President Joe Biden, in an emotional address, called on lawmakers to take on America’s powerful gun lobby and introduce tougher laws.

Biden announced Wednesday that he would soon visit Uvalde, as he renewed his plea for ‘common sense gun reforms.’

‘I think we all must be there for them. Everyone. And we must ask when in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to, if not completely stop, fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country,’ he said.

‘I am sick and tired of what’s going on and continues to go on.’

Victims of Uvalde school shooting

The shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas left 19 students and two teachers dead. Here are the victims that have been identified so far:

Alithia Ramirez

Amerie Jo Garza

Fourth grader Alithia Ramirez (left) was confirmed dead early Wednesday by her father, Ryan. Amerie Jo Garza (pictured right with father, Angel), was confirmed dead by her dad Wednesday

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, who appears to be Jaliah's cousin based on posts shared by the family, was confirmed as one of the dead Wednesday by his aunt. 'Still can't believe that we're never gonna see you again,' she wrote on Facebook

Amerie Jo Garza (right) was confirmed dead by her father Angel Garza (left), who said: 'My little love is now flying high with the angels above'

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos (left), was confirmed as one of the dead Wednesday by his aunt. His cousin, Jaliah Nicole Silguero (right) was also confirmed as one of the victims early Wednesday, with her mother Veronica Luevanos sharing a memorial post

The family of Uziyah Garcia, 8, said he was killed in the shooting hours after announcing he was among the missing

Makenna Lee Elrod, 10, was confirmed dead by a family friend late Tuesday night

Uziyah Garcia, nine, (left) and Makenna Elrod, 10, (right) were both confirmed dead by loved ones on Facebook

Xavier Lopez

Eliahana Torres, 10, was also confirmed dead on Facebook

Xavier Lopez, 10, (left) and Eliahana Torres, 10, (right) was also killed at the school shooting on Tuesday 

Steven Garcia and Jennifer Lugo confirmed their daughter, Ellie, was killed in Tuesday's massacre after she had been missing for several hours

Nevaeh Bravo

Ellie Lugo (left) and Nevaeh Bravo (right) were also killed. Ellie was reported as missing for several hours before her parents confirmed her death

Jose Flores, 10

Rogelio Torres is among the dead

Jose Flores, 10 (left), was killed just hours after this photo of him being given an honor roll certificate  was taken. Rogelio Torres, right, was also killed 

Fourth-grader Tess Marie Mata was named by her sister, who described her younger sibling as a 'precious angel'

Miranda Mathis, 11, was also confirmed as another casualty from the mass shooting early Wednesday, in a Facebook post by an older cousin who earlier that day had posted a desperate plea for help in locating the child

Fourth-grader Tess Marie Mata (left) was confirmed dead by her sister, who described her younger sibling as a ‘precious angel’. Miranda Mathis, 11 (right), was confirmed dead by an elder cousin

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio - who was better known to friends as 'Lexi' - was confirmed dead just before midnight on Tuesday

Maite was another student to die in the attack that had attended the honor roll ceremony just hours before.

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio – who was better known to friends as ‘Lexi’ (left) – was confirmed dead just before midnight on Tuesday. Maite Yuleana (right) was also confirmed dead, having taken a photo with her honor roll certificate just hours before

Jackie Cazares

Annabell Rodriguez

Jackie Cazares, 10 (left), and  Annabell Rodriguez, also 10 (right), who were cousins, were confirmed dead by relatives on Wednesday

Layla Salaza, 10, was the last of the victims to be confirmed dead by her father, who paid tribute to her late Wednesday

Layla Salaza, 10, was the last of the victims to be confirmed dead by her father, who paid tribute to her late Wednesday

Irma Garcia, a fourth grade teacher and 23-year veteran of Robb Elementary, was killed on Tuesday

Eva Mireles, who for five years was the co-teacher with Irma Garcia, was one of two teachers shot and killed at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday

Irma Garcia (left) and Eva Mireles (right), who co-taught fourth grade, were both shot and killed at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday

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