Donors increase thousands and thousands for the youngsters of murdered Uvalde trainer Irma Garcia and Joe Garcia who died of a coronary heart assault
Placeholder when loading item promotions
In one moment, Irma Garcia tried to protect young children from gunfire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Moments later, the 48-year-old teacher was killed in the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history.
Two days later, her husband Joe Garcia suffered a fatal heart attack – shortly after returning home from a trip to a memorial erected for the victims. He had brought flowers to honor his wife, another school teacher and 19 students who lost their lives.
The couple left four children: Cristian, 23; Jose, 19; Lylia, 15; and Alysandra, 12. As of Saturday afternoon, more than 44,000 donors had raised more than $2.5 million on GoFundMe to support her.
“Their family was an all-American family,” John Martinez told The Washington Post this week of his aunt, uncle and cousins. “They are great people. The whole family, they’re all great people. They didn’t deserve that.”
The murdered teacher’s husband dies of a heart attack days after the school shooting
Irma Garcia’s cousin Debra Austin, who set up the GoFundMe page, wrote online that Irma is a wife, mother of four, aunt, cousin, sister and daughter who “would do literally anything for anyone.” .
“I truly believe that Joe died heartbroken and the loss of the love of his life of 25+ years was too much to bear,” she wrote.
“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers,” she added.
The largest donation, more than $500,000, was picked up by a separate GoFundMe created by Martinez. The site has also received several other large donations and has been promoted on social media by Bill Pulte, a philanthropist and CEO of investment firm Pulte Capital.
Amid the lavish support, Martinez, the couple’s nephew, told the Detroit Free Press he was “thrilled.”
“Please know and let people know on behalf of the family that I am beyond grateful and thrilled with the overwhelming love and support, whether it be the kind words, the donations or just spreading the word, it means a lot to me,” he said.
GoFundMe pages have been created for other victims and survivors of the Uvalde shootings, including schoolteacher Eva Mireles, whose family has dubbed her a “hero”.
“She put aside her own fears that day to protect her students,” her sister wrote. “She was a gift that God gave us. Our family is torn apart, we want them back. Nothing will ever fill that void.”
A fundraiser was also set up for 11-year-old survivor Miah Cerrillo, who covered herself in blood to trick gunmen into believing she was dead. Her mother wrote on GoFundMe that Miah “need a lot of help with all the trauma.” will.
And for Kendall Olivarez, 9, who was shot and survived. Her family is raising money for her medical care.
What we know about the victims of the Texas school shooting
Relatives of Irma Garcia said she and colleague Mireles, 44, were gunned down on Tuesday while trying to protect their students from a gunman.
Martinez said authorities told his family Irma Garcia used himself as a human shield to try to save the children.
“I want her to be remembered as someone who gave her life and risked her life for her children,” he told The Post this week. “They weren’t just her students. These were her children and she risked her life, she lost her life to protect them. That’s the kind of person she was.”
Her husband also died on Thursday.
Martinez said Joe Garcia, 50, was in the kitchen when he fell and Martinez’s mother began giving chest compressions until paramedics arrived. He was taken to the hospital, where he died, Martinez said.
“Our family is in shambles right now,” he told the Post. “Nobody expected it. It’s heartbreaking.”
Nick Anderson, Moriah Balingit, Marissa J. Lang, and Ian Shapira contributed to this report.