Revival of terror by Uvalde gunman: Pastor is shot and killed

Gilbert Limones, a colleague at a funeral home, and another person were among those who were first shot by the gunman responsible for the shooting deaths of 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary.

Revival of terror by Uvalde gunman: Pastor is shot and killed

Gilbert Limones, a colleague at a funeral home, and another person were among those who were first shot by the gunman responsible for the shooting deaths of 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary. Since then, he has spent his time helping to prepare the burials of the young victims and comforting their families.

Limones switched his role as a funeral attendant to that of a preacher, trying to comfort the community and explain the horrors that are beyond easy explanations. Limones is also the pastor of Casa El Shaddai which is a small church less than one mile from the scene of the carnage.

Limones explained to his 35-strong congregation, "When tragedies occur, all that the enemy needs are willing vessels." He spoke of this when they met for the first time at a converted restaurant into a space for worship.

Limones said that although he didn't sustain any injuries, he was exhausted and feeling guilty about not being able to stop the bloodshed. He's spent hours in prayer or tears, sometimes at the same moment.

Limones still tried to find words to comfort his section of a 16,000-strong Hispanic community that was sad, confused, and racked with emotion almost two weeks after the massacre. He said that Satan caused confusion and hurt but that the faithful had a defense.

He held up a Bible and said: "Church. You are armed with this." Limones was too busy at work to preach last week, so this was Limones' first sermon after the murder.

Limones is bilingual and can preach in English and Spanish. His hair is salt-and peppery and his smile is wide during happy times. The congregation meets one turn left from Robb Elementary School and Hillcrest Funeral Home. He was animated in front of them. They are located on opposite sides Geraldine Street near the spot where Salvador Ramos, 18, shot and injured his grandmother in her face at home prior to the school attack.

Limones and Cody Briseno (another Hillcrest funeral attendant) heard the sound of a vehicle collide on May 24th. According to a search warrant, a gray Ford pickup truck was found to have crashed into a concrete ditch just behind Hillcrest School and across from the funeral home. They soon noticed a man in black standing beside the passenger door.

According to authorities, Limones and Briseno approached the man but then retreated after realizing that he was loading a magazine into his rifle. Ramos, a shooter, fired multiple shots at them.

Limones stated that he heard someone shout about a weapon, then turn to hear gunfire behind him. Limones stated that the shooter was only 150 feet (46m) away from Limones but somehow missed him.

Limones claimed that he ran as fast as possible, cringing at each shot and calling 911 as soon as he was able. He said, "I was screaming, screaming to 911."

Ramos then turned the gun on the school's facade and entered the building via a door that authorities claim didn't lock when a teacher opened it. Limones said, "I saw it all."

As police stood in the corridors waiting over an hour to confront Ramos, they found that 19 fourth-graders had been fatally injured. While there are still questions about the police response to the incident at the school, five funerals were held last week by Hillcrest.

Limones, despite the encounter with the killer, returned to his job at his family-owned funeral home. It is small and quickly overwhelmed. It issued a request for donations, including tissues and cleaning materials, and received help from Uvalde morticians.

Jason Horn, a volunteer funeral directors from Longview Texas, said that he worked in shifts at Hillcrest to prepare young victims for burial.

In a video, he stated that five cases were very difficult. All five families were able see their children and decided to use open caskets. Compiling obituaries was not an easy task. The Thursday edition of Uvalde Leader News featured three pages of write-ups and photos.

Robb Elementary's victims are now in good health. Fourth-grade teacher Arnulfo Ryes was shot in the leg and is now in a stable condition. He posted a message on social media thanking his friends for their support.

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