Joe, 50, collapsed and died after dropping off flowers at his wife’s memorial. The couple would have been married 25 years on June 28. His obituary noted that he and Irma “began their relationship in high school and it flourished into a love that was beautiful and kind.”
US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who attended the Garcias’ funeral, said in a statement that America “must unite as a country against this senseless cycle of violence, act immediately to protect our children, and make sure that every child and every educator feels safe in our schools.”
Another funeral Wednesday was for 10-year-old Jose Flores jnr, also at Sacred Heart. He made the honour roll and received a certificate on May 24, hours before the shooting. His father told CNN that his son loved baseball and video games and “was always full of energy”.
On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds turned out to remember Amerie Jo Garza, a smiling fourth-grader whose funeral Mass was the first since the massacre. The funeral for 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez was Tuesday night.
At Amerie’s funeral, mourner Erika Santiago, her husband and their two children wore purple shirts adorned with images of the victims. She described Amerie as “a nice little girl who smiled a lot,” and who was “so humble and charismatic but full of life”.
Investigators continue to seek answers about how police responded to the shooting, and the US Department of Justice is reviewing law enforcement actions.
The blame for an excruciating delay in killing the gunman — even as parents outside begged police to rush in and panicked children called 911 from inside — was placed on the school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo.
The director of state police last week said Arredondo made the “wrong decision” not to breach the classroom, believing the gunman was barricaded inside and children weren’t at risk.
On Wednesday, Arredondo told CNN that he’s talking regularly with investigators from the Texas Department of Public Safety, contradicting claims from state law enforcement that he’s stopped cooperating.
In a brief interview, Arredondo told CNN that he’s speaking regularly with Texas Department of Public Safety investigators.
“I’ve been on the phone with them every day,” Arredondo said. The chief has been the focus of ire in the community and beyond over allegations that he delayed sending officers into the school on May 24, believing that the gunman was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and the children were no longer at risk.
Arredondo has not responded to multiple requests for comment from The Associated Press.
Travis Considine, chief communications officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said on Tuesday that Arredondo had not responded to DPS requests for two days, while other officers in the Uvalde city and schools police departments continue to sit for interviews and provide statements.
Considine told AP Wednesday that Arredondo had not responded to Texas Rangers’ requests for follow-up interviews as of Tuesday.
The Texas Rangers — the investigative arm of the Department of Public Safety that focuses on major crimes —had no immediate response to Arredondo’s insistence he was in regular touch with DPS.
The Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, which represents police officers, has urged its members to cooperate with “all government investigations” into the shooting and police response, and endorsed a federal probe by the Justice Department.
The confusing and sometimes contradictory information released in the week since the deadly shooting continued on Tuesday with the revelation that the exterior door used by the gunman was not left propped open by a teacher, as police previously said.
Authorities have said the gunman, Salvador Ramos, legally purchased two guns not long before the school attack: an AR-15-style rifle on May 17 and a second rifle on May 20. He had just turned 18, permitting him to buy the weapons under federal law. Ramos was killed by law enforcement.
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