2022 – Ovaldi begins burying his dead after the Reuters school massacre

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© Reuters. Flowers, toys and other items commemorating the victims of the deadliest US school shooting, which killed 19 children and two teachers, are displayed at a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Ovaldi, Texas, May 30 to see in 2022. Photo: Veron – Reuters

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Written by Brad Brooks and Daniel Trotta

Ovaldi, Texas (Reuters) – The grieving town of Ovaldi, Texas, began resting the 21 children and a teacher who were shot dead at an elementary school a week ago. The funerals of two murdered 10-year-old girls were scheduled for Tuesday as Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for the city.

According to an obituary on Uvalde’s funeral sites, Maite Yuleana Rodriguez was an honors student who loved learning about whales and dolphins and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. Amerie Jo Garza was remembered as sweet, sassy, ​​funny, and loved to swim and draw.

Amiri’s funeral was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ovaldi. Mighty’s service was scheduled for the evening at the funeral home.

The girls were among 19 students, ages 9 and 11, who were killed along with two teachers last Tuesday by an 18-year-old gunman who broke into the fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School and used an AR-15 that opened. -Semi-automatic shotgun styled.

Abbott said his declaration of the disaster was intended in part to “accelerate all state and local resources available to assist the Yuvaldi community” in the wake of the massacre, the deadliest US school shooting in nearly a decade.

Several major Texas media outlets, including the Dallas Morning News and The Texas Tribune, observed a 21-minute silence on Tuesday — one minute for all of those killed in the attack.

“Many of us mourn for the city of Uvald, for the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and for the husbands and daughters of those who will never hear their loved ones laugh again,” NBC affiliate KXAS-TV said. Dallas, on their website.

A series of funerals is planned over the next two weeks in Ovaldi, a town of 16,000 mostly Hispanic and Catholic residents 80 miles (130 km) west of San Antonio.

Among those to remember are the two teachers who died, Eva Meirelles, 44, and Irma Garcia, 48. Garcia’s husband, Jose Garcia, 50, died of a heart attack two days after the shooting. A joint funeral is scheduled for Wednesday for the couple, who met in high school and have four children.

Criticize the police response

“Our focus on Tuesday is on our families who have lost loved ones. We’re starting to bury our children,” Yuvaldi Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a statement announcing the cancellation of the scheduled city council meeting.

The meeting agenda included Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s Chief Constable, being sworn in as the new board member.

Arredondo was heavily criticized for his role as head of police operations at the scene. According to state public safety officials, it was Arredondo who chose not to immediately storm the classroom as the gunman opened fire.

Authorities said last week that up to 19 local law enforcement officers waited outside the classroom for nearly an hour while distressed schoolchildren crowded inside and repeatedly called 911 for help. Finally, a tactical team led by the US Border Patrol rushed in and killed the gunman.

Videos surfaced showing the chaotic scene outside the school, as stunned parents swarmed and urged police to enter the building early. A video clip filmed by a viewer and broadcast on CNN on Tuesday recorded the wireless movement of a child’s call to police.

“did you get hurt?” An adult can be heard asking the caller.

“I’ve been shot,” the child replies before the voice becomes unintelligible.

With the city grieving, the nation is wrestling once again over whether to toughen federal and state laws on guns. Texas law allowed a shooter to purchase an AR-15 pistol on his eighteenth birthday, a week before the massacre.

The shooter also purchased hundreds of rounds and another rifle over the following days.

Several Democrats, including US President Joe Biden, who traveled to Yuvaldi on Sunday, have called for new restrictions such as the assault weapons ban and a global background check on all firearms purchases.

In New York, Democratic leaders said Tuesday that 10 bills to toughen gun laws have been submitted to the state legislature, including one to raise the minimum purchase age for semi-automatic rifles to 21.

Republicans have succeeded in reducing gun control tightening in recent years, loosening gun laws in many states, saying law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to bear guns.

Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has said he is willing to discuss raising the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21.

“I think you need to be able to talk about AR-15 weapons. And whether he’s 18 or 21. They need to at least have a conversation,” Hutchinson told CNN on Tuesday.