On Tuesday, a shooter gunned down 21 people at Robb Elementary School. The nineteen children whose lives were claimed were aged between seven and 10. Two of their teachers lost their lives too as they tried to protect their students.
The day started as any other, and no one could have ever predicted that a man at the other side of town would fire the opening shots of one of America’s deadliest mass shootings.
The killer, Salvador Ramos, first shot his grandmother in the head and then announced his plans on Facebook in a series of text messages he sent to a girl from Europe he met online.
One of the victims was a girl named Amerie Jo Garza. He father, Angel Garza, responded to the aftermath of the shooting still unaware that his girl was among the killed. Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Angel explained that he attended to a girl “covered in blood, head to toe.”
“I thought she was injured, I asked her what was wrong and she said she’s OK,” Garza told Cooper. “She was hysterical, saying that they shot her best friend, that they killed her best friend, she’s not breathing and she was trying to call the cops.
Then he asked the young girl for her friend’s name. “She told me, she said Amerie,” he said, before breaking down and weeping on air.
“She was so sweet, Mr. Cooper,” the grief-stricken father said after an emotional pause in which he hugged a framed photo of his daughter. “She was the sweetest little girl who did nothing wrong. She listened to her mom and dad, she always brushed her teeth, she was creative, she made things for us, she never got in trouble in school.”
“I just want to know what she did to be a victim,” he said crying.
Sweet Amerie died a hero. Her grandma, Berlinda Arreola, told The Daily Beast that her granddaughter tried to call 911 on her cellphone before the 18-year-old gunman killed her.
“And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her,” Arreola said. “She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood.”
Amerie had just celebrated her birthday on May 10, her dad told Cooper. The phone was a birthday gift.
“She’d been wanting a phone for so long and we finally got it for her,” Angel said and added that other children confirmed how his daughter died while trying to call the police.
“She just tried to call the police … and I guess he just shot her,” he said through tears.
“How do you look at this girl and shoot her?” he said.
We are so very sorry for all the lives lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families.
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