Ten-year-old Amerie Jo Garza is being remembered as a hero after it emerged she attempted to dial out to 911 moments before her tragic death.
Amerie Jo was identified as one of the 19 children killed in Tuesday’s mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
In an interview with TheDailyBeasther grandmother Berlinda Irene Arreola revealed her granddaughter bravely picked up her phone as Salvador Ramos, 18, burst into her classroom and announced “you’re going to die”.
“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 of hers. Her best friend of hers was covered in blood, ”she said.
Police have confirmed that all 21 victims – 19 children and two teachers were in Amerie Jo’s classroom. Ramos who used a handgun and rifle in the attack was also shot dead by police.
“My granddaughter 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 continued.
“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.
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 AB Honor Roll.
“She was very smart and she was looking forward to making a life for herself.”
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 information.
“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.”
In a follow-up post on Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after receiving the news that his daughter had been claimed as one of Tuesday’s mass shooting victims, Mr Garza shared another post on Facebook commemorating his “sweet baby”.
“Ohhh my sweet baby I love you so much,” he wrote, adding this time a broken heart emoji. “I will never be happy or complete again,” he added, sharing alongside his heart wrenching post a pair of photographs of the 10-year-old girl.
In one, she’s holding what appears to be her younger 3-year-old brother, while in the other she strikes a pose, hand on hip, holding onto a set of birthday balloons with the number eight floating up beside her.
Just two weeks before the deadly shooting, Amelie Jo had celebrated her tenth birthday.
The identities of victims are still emerging in Uvalde but they are confirmed to include eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia and Amerie Jo Garza, Makenna Lee Elrod, Xavier Javier Lopez, Jose Flores, Navaeh Brown, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez and Ellie Lugo, all aged 10.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.