Funerals for 10-year-olds Maite Rodriguez and Amerie Jo Garza were held today after visitations and rosary services took place Monday. Services for the other 19 victims have been scheduled throughout the rest of the week and into next week. The last funeral — as it currently stands — will take place June 8 for 10-year-old Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez.
At Monday’s service for Maite Rodriguez, her cousin, Destiny Esquivel, spoke with CNN about Rodriguez’s love of animals and determination to be a marine biologist. Esquivel also spoke of how Rodriguez tried to help her classmates during the shooting: “Her classmates said she was brave. Grabbing all of the other students, telling them where to hide. She is a hero.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone last week, Rodriguez’s mother, Ana, described her daughter as bright and “empathetic,” adding, “She was very charismatic, very loving, giving. She was my very best friend. We did everything together. She was my only girl. She was a beautiful soul, inside and out. She was definitely way better than I was at that age. I was so proud of her.”
At yesterday’s visitation for Amerie Jo Garza, many mourners wore lilac and lavender — Garza’s favorite colors — at the request of her father, Angel Garza, as The Guardian reports. Garza’s family had learned from her classmates that Amerie had tried to call 911 for help during the shooting.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, Garza’s grandmother, Berlinda Arreola, recalled, “One of her classmates told my son [Angel] when they were talking in the emergency room that Amerie was shot because she was trying to call 911. She was shot in cold blood for innocently trying to do something in her nature. She was very shy and timid around strangers. So, I’m pretty sure she was terrified when this gunman walked in. But her first instinct was to call 911, because she was also a protector — especially to her little brother. She always wanted to lend a hand.”
Garza was ostensibly one of several kids inside Robb Elementary who tried to contact law enforcement during the shooting, carried out by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Last Friday, Texas’ Department of Public Safety Director, Steven McCraw, detailed the various calls made from inside the classroom where the deadly shooting took place as students waited for more than 40 minutes for police officers to intervene.
Law enforcement’s delayed response to the deadly rampage has garnered significant criticism, with the Justice Department announcing on Sunday, May 29, that it will investigate the matter. “The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events,” the DOJ said in a statement.