Families mourn, worry in wake of Texas elementary school shooting

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By Jim Vertuno and Heather Hollingsworth, The Associated Press

UVALDE, Texas — Distraught families gathered at a local civic center and turned to social media to mourn and to make desperate pleas for help finding missing children as the death toll in a gruesome school shooting at a Texas elementary school rose to at least 19 students and two teachers.

By nightfall, names of those killed during Tuesday’s attack at Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde began to emerge. One man at the civic center walked away sobbing into his phone “she is gone.” On the backside of the building, a woman stood by herself, alternately crying and yelling into her phone, shaking her fist and stamping her feet.

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez told CNN on Wednesday morning that all the dead were in the same fourth-grade classroom, where the shooter barricaded himself and opened fire on the children and teachers.

Manny Renfro said he got word Tuesday that his grandson, 8-year-old Uziyah Garcia, was among those killed.

“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Renfro said. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”

Renfro said Uziyah last visited him 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. “There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced.”

Fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles, 44, was remembered as a loving mother and wife.

“She was adventurous. I would definitely say those wonderful things about her. She is definitely going to be very missed,” said 34-year-old relative Amber Ybarra, of San Antonio.

Ybarra prepared to give blood for the wounded and pondered how no one noticed trouble with the shooter in time to stop him.

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