Pallbearers wore white shirts, gloves, and hats. The church, a desert-brown one with a tall bell tower, was overflowing. A 10-year-old girl, who was passionate about purple, was buried in the casket.
On Tuesday afternoon hundreds of mourners attended the funeral mass for Amerie Jo Garza. Amerie was a smiling fourth grader who was shot and killed by Salvador Ramos, an 18-year old Texas teenager. Amerie's funeral was the first since that massacre. Maite Rodriguez's will be held later Tuesday at an Uvalde cemetery.
For the 19 children and 2 teachers who died in the classroom fire on May 24, nineteen additional funerals will be held over the next two-and a half weeks.
Erika Santiago, Erika's husband and their two children wore purple shirts with images of the victims on them to Amerie’s funeral. Amerie was described by her as a "nice little girl who smiled a lot" and "so humble, charismatic, but full of life."
Santiago stated that Adriel, Santiago's 10-year-old son, was horrified when first images of victims were shown in news reports. He recognized Amerie and Maite as his friends.
Santiago stated that Santiago told Santiago that he didn't want to go school because he was afraid of what might happen. "He said to me, "Mom, it's not safe for me."
Tuesday also saw visitation for Irma Garcia (48 years old), one of the teachers. Also, there were visits for Jose Flores Jr. and Nevaeh Bravo.
Vincent Salazar's 11 year-old daughter Layla has the last scheduled service -- her visitation will be June 15, with the funeral the next day. Salazar stated that Layla's family won't likely see her body until after the visitation.
Salazar stated that she understood there were other children, but they are just waiting for her to return. "That's all that we're focusing on."
Eulalio "Lalo" Diaz Jr., Uvalde County Justice of the Peace, stated that all 21 victims' bodies were first taken to San Antonio by the medical examiner for autopsies. This is a standard procedure for major crimes. Due to insufficient space at Uvalde’s two funeral homes, many of the bodies were then sent to funeral homes out of town until services near. He said that the Uvalde funeral homes were working with families to determine when they could see their loved ones.