First responder learns daughter was Texas school shooting victim

Amerie Jo Garza, 10, is one of the 19 Robb Elementary School students killed in Uvalde on May 24, 2022. (Garza family)

“How do you look at this girl and shoot her?”

Angel Garza said through tears Wednesday while holding a framed picture of his step-daughter, Amerie Jo Garza, one of the 19 children who died during the Robb Elementary School massacre in Texas.

The world watched the heartbroken father tell CNN’s Anderson Cooper how he learned she was a victim. He works as a medical assistant and rushed to her school in Uvalde.

“One little girl was just covered in blood head to toe. Like, I thought she was injured. I asked her what was wrong and she said, she is OK. She was hysterical saying that they shot her best friend. They killed her best friend and she is not breathing. She was trying to call the cops and I asked the little girl the name ... and she said, Amerie.”

“How do you look at this girl and shoot her?” Angel Garza said through tears while holding a picture of his daughter Amerie Jo Garza, one of the 19 children who died during the Robb Elementary School massacre in Texas.

His step-daughter had just turned 10 years old on May 10. She had been asking for a cell phone and finally got one. Students in her classroom told the grieving father she tried to use it after Salvador Ramos walked into her classroom.

Ramos, who was wearing body armor, used an AR-15 rifle to kill Amerie’s two teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, and 18 of her classmates. A friend of Amerie’s mother, Kimberly Garcia, set up a GoFundMe page.

“She received an award yesterday for honor roll just before the shooting occurred,” she wrote. “She was so smart and such a good child. Amerie is known for being a hero and trying to call 911 before the shooter took her life.”

Complete coverage

Pastor Daniel Myers kneels in front of crosses bearing the names of Tuesday's shooting victims while praying for them at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Wednesday and Tuesday stories

Esmeralda Bravo, 63, sheds tears while holding a photo of her granddaughter, Nevaeh, one of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims, during a prayer vigil in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A state trooper escorts a group of family onto the campus of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Desperation turned to heart-wrenching sorrow for families of grade schoolers killed after an 18-year-old gunman barricaded himself in their Texas classroom and began shooting, killing at least 19 fourth-graders and their two teachers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Two Texas Troopers light a candle at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Desperation turned to heart-wrenching sorrow for families of grade schoolers killed after an 18-year-old gunman barricaded himself in their Texas classroom and began shooting, killing several fourth-graders and their teachers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
People mourn outside of the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. (Getty Images)
People become emotional at the City of Uvalde Town Square during a prayer vigil in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed before the gunman was fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
People react outside the Civic Center following a deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
People react outside the Ssgt. Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, where students were transported from Robb Elementary School after a mass shooting on May 24, 2022. (Reuters/Marco Bello)
A family grieves outside of the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Eden Checkol co-anchors Local 10's 10 p.m. weeknight newscast on WSFL and also reports on WPLG newscasts. She’s a Minnesota native who is thrilled to leave the snow behind and call South Florida home.