A Texan family has been ripped apart by a double tragedy this week after a school shooting in Uvalde claimed the lives of both teacher Irma Garcia and, two days later, that of her husband.
Irma, 49, was one of 21 people massacred on Tuesday by an 18-year-old gunman who barricaded himself into her fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School and opened fire on those inside with an assault rifle.
Just two days later, her grieving husband of 24 years collapsed and died at home from a heart attack, a family member has said.
Joe Garcia, 50, had laid flowers at his wife’s memorial on Thursday morning in Uvalde and then returned home, where he “pretty much just fell over” and died, nephew John Martinez told The New York Times.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary confirmed Joe Garcia’s death to The Associated Press.
The Garcias had four children together. They loved to barbecue, and Irma also enjoyed listening to music and travelling to Concan, a community along the Frio River about 40 kilometres north of Uvalde.
The school year, scheduled to end on Thursday, was Garcia's 23rd year of teaching - all of it at Robb. She was previously named the school's teacher of the year and was a 2019 recipient of the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Education from Trinity University. She had co-taught with Eva Mireles, who also was killed, for five years.