Children who lost mom in Robb Elementary School shooting speak about losing both parents 

“It all happened so suddenly. Mom died in a school shooting and dad died two days later of a heart attack,” says Alysandara, who lost both parents within days of one another.  

UVALDE, Texas – The tragedy of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting has left so many families broken, one of those families is the Garcia family. Four children, Alysandara, Lyliana, Jose, and Cristian lost their mom in the massacre and their dad just two days later. He died of a heart attack, leaving the four children without parents.

“It all happened so suddenly. Mom died in a school shooting and dad died two days later of a heart attack,” says Alysandara.

Irma and Joe Garcia were high school sweethearts, married for 24 years, the couple would go on to have four children who are now orphans. Their mom who was one of the teachers killed at Robb Elementary. She died protecting her students. Two days later, their dad Joe Garcia died of a heart attack. The last thing he did before his death was put flowers at the Robb Elementary memorial, his family members say he died of a broken heart.

“The fact that he passed because he couldn’t take the pain explains so much,” says Alysandara.

Another one of their children, Jose, says losing both his parents is indescribable.

“This community is shaken, and losing our dad was just another punch in the gut to that terrible week,” says Jose.

Irma and Joe are described as beloved community members in Uvalde. Parents who would do anything for their children.

“The woman she was, is hard to, honestly, put into words, what she meant to us and our family and even the community, from volunteering at the church, being a teacher for 20 plus years, just a selfless woman. He also went above and beyond for us just to put food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our head. I strive to be half the man he was,” says Jose.

With the law enforcement response under extreme scrutiny, Irma and Joe’s children say seeing the footage of the response is hard to watch.

“Just so many failures and they just stood there, and it seemed like they just waited for someone to do something, and no one ever did. It was very hard to watch,” says Jose.

“It was very disheartening to know that they signed up for that and decided to have no response,” says Lyliana.

The gunman killed 21 people, but Lyliana feels like it’s 22, since she lost her dad days after the tragedy.

“We know that the killer killed 21 people, but to me he really killed 22,” says filmmaker Charlie Minn.

“Yes, I completely agree with that,” says Lyliana.

The mass shooting has changed the Garcia children’s lives. They’ll never be the same.

“To put it into one statement, I would say that it ruined my life,” says Lyliana.

The couple’s eldest son Cristian, says his mom died a hero.

“The minute I heard that she was found holding her kids to protect them from the shooter, it was heartbreaking to know but I know that she would have done that for any one of us. She died a hero,” says Cristian.

All of these Uvalde interviews are part of a Charlie Minn documentary 25 News Now assisted with. The documentary titled ‘Robb-Ed’ may come as early as this year.

To see previous reporting on this click here.