On Tuesday morning, Texas fourth-grader Amerie Jo Garza, 10, beamed for a picture as she held up a colorful school certificate naming her to the honor roll at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.
Taken at around 10 a.m., it was the last picture of her alive, her grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, told The Daily Beast in an emotional interview in which she said the girl—“super outgoing” and a “teacher’s pet” who liked doing well in school—was fatally wounded dialing 911.
“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,” Arreola wrote in a text message to The Daily Beast.
The 18-year-old gunman walked into the school with several weapons and fatally shot 19 children and two teachers. As word of the shooting and its toll spread, Amerie Jo’s family members spent an anguished day struggling to find out anything about their missing daughter. Before 8 p.m. local time, Amerie Jo’s distraught stepfather, Angel Garza, like others in the same vigil, went to Facebook:
“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.
Please fb help me find my daughter.”
Garza, who had raised Amerie Jo with her mom since she was a baby, returned to Facebook shortly after 11 p.m. local time with the news that Amerie Jo was one of the victims.
“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.”
Her grandmother, Arreola, said Texas Rangers notified the family that Amerie Jo had been fatally wounded and that her body was with the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy. She said she was told by authorities and survivors of the shooting:
“So the gunman went in and he told the children, ‘You’re going to die.’ And she 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 her blood.”
Arreola said she was told that Amerie Jo died immediately. She leaves behind a little brother, aged 3, whom she doted on. Arreola said of her granddaughter, “She was just 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. She had just gotten her award today for A-B Honor Roll. She was very smart and she was looking forward to making a life for herself.”
Read Full Story At: The Daily Beast.