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This week was supposed to kick off the summer vacation for Robb Elementary School students in Uvalde, Texas, but following a mass shooting last week, many people in the community are instead spending their week attending the funeral services for the 21 victims.
A gathering for 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza was held at Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home Monday, while another visitation for 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez was at the small town’s other funeral home.
Eleven more funerals are planned later this week, which will include a service for teacher Irma Garcia.
Additional funeral services will be spaced out over the next two-and-a-half weeks as the community says its goodbyes to the 19 children and two teachers who were killed by a lone gunman on May 24.
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A funeral for one of the victims, Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia, will be held on June 6, the day after she would have celebrated her 10th birthday.
Uvalde’s limited resources made the volume of funeral services difficult to manage, so funeral directors, embalmers and morticians from across the state of Texas have assisted in the process.
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During a Memorial Day event, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described last week’s mass shooting as “a horrific act of evil.”
“As Texans, we must come together and lift up Uvalde and support them in every way that we possibly can,” the governor added. “It is going to take time to heal the devastation that the families there have gone through and are going through. But be assured, we will not relent until Uvalde recovers.”
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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Uvalde Sunday afternoon, where they paid their respects to the victims. The couple visited Robb Elementary School and a memorial for the victims, before they met privately with the victims’ families.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.