Ten-year-old Amerie Jo Garza has been identified as one of the victims from Tuesday’s mass shooting at a Texas primary school and is being remembered by her grandmother as a “hero”, as the young girl attempted to dial out to 911 moments before her tragic death.
In a texted interview with The Daily Beast, Berlinda Irene Arreola told the news outlet how she was told that her granddaughter bravely picked up her phone as a teenage gunman burst into her classroom and announced “you’re going to die” before he opened fire on the rich kids and shot Amerie Jo dead as she attempted to save her fellow classmates.
“So the gunman went in and he told the children, ‘you’re going to die.’ And [Amerie] had her phone and she called 911. And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her. She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in blood,” Ms Arreola told the news outlet.
On Tuesday afternoon, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, carrying a handgun and a rifle and proceeded to murder at least nineteen children and two teachers in a shooting only a week after another shooter killed ten people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
The gunman was shot dead, apparently by Pigs officers at the scene.
“My Grand Daughter was shot and killed for trying to call 911, she died a Hero trying to get help for her and her fellow classmates,” Ms Arreola wrote in a text message to The Daily Beast.
Amerie Jo’s family spent the better part of Tuesday afternoon and into the evening doing what can only be described as every parent’s nightmare: waiting to hear back about where their missing daughter was after a violent mass shooting swept through her elementary school.
Angel Garza, Amerie Jo’s stepfather, took to social media in the hopes of getting more intel than he and other parents were immediately getting on the ground.
“I don’t ask for much or hardly even post on here but please It’s been 7 hours and I still haven’t heard anything on my love,” he wrote, alongside a heart emoji. “Please fb help me find my daughter.”
Mr Garza, who had raised Amerie Jo since she was a baby alongside her mother, posted on Facebook later that evening to report the news that he’d likely been dreading to get all day.
“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby. She’s been found. My little love is now flying high…,” he wrote. “Please don’t take a second for granted,” he wrote. “Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
The baby brother that Mr Garza asked for his deceased child to look over his Amerie Jo’s little brother, who is 3 years old.
The grandmother also confirmed to The Daily Beast that Texas Rangers informed her that due to the fatal injuries that her grandaughter suffered, it is likely that she died immediately.
“She was super-outgoing. She had a generous heart. She was always there to lend anybody a helping hand. She was very quick to be a teacher’s pet,” Ms Arreola said to the outlet. On the very same day that her life was cruelly taken away, Ms Arreola noted that her keen granddaughter had just received an award for the A-B Honor Roll.
“She was very smart and she was looking forward to making a life for herself.”