Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry visit family of Uvalde shooting victim

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, visited Uvalde, Texas on Saturday and met with the family of Irma Garcia, a beloved schoolteacher killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting.

Garcia, who had worked as a teacher for 23 years, was one of 21 people – two teachers and 19 children – killed by an 18-year-old gunman who walked into the school armed with a rifle and began shooting in May 2022. Two days after her death, her husband Joe Garcia died of a heart attack.

Irma Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, told CNN Harry and Meghan have kept in contact with his family since the massacre, which the US Justice Department and other agencies agree was met with a disastrous law enforcement response.

Meghan attended and spoke at the South by Southwest festival in Austin on Friday, the day before she and Harry made a stop in Uvalde to check in on the family, Martinez said.

Carlos Martinez with Prince Harry. - John Martinez
Carlos Martinez with Prince Harry. - John Martinez

“It was such a beautiful experience, they’re so nice and compassionate, very down to earth, humble people,” Martinez told CNN in a text message.

“It was kind of by surprise, she [Meghan] had called my mom one random day and dropped the news on us not too long ago that she was coming to visit the kids and of course we got so excited,” he added.

Martinez said the couple spoke at length with Irma and Joe’s children about their plans and goals for the future.

Before they left, Meghan surprised Martinez’s mom with a cake for her birthday. Video shared by Martinez shows them singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Claudia Martinez, Irma’s sister, who indicated it was not the first time Harry and Meghan met in the family in person.

Meghan visited Uvalde days after the shooting where she was seen placing flowers at a makeshift memorial in front of the county courthouse.

“She took this trip in a personal capacity as a mother, to offer her condolences and support in person to a community experiencing unimaginable grief,” a spokesperson for the Duchess told CNN at the time.

The royal visit took place two days after an independent investigator tasked with probing the local police response to the shooting presented his report at a packed city council meeting Thursday, clearing all local officers of wrongdoing and sparking the fury of many victims’ families who denounced the findings and pleaded for accountability nearly two years after the attack.

Irma Garcia is seen in an image from her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website. - Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District
Irma Garcia is seen in an image from her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website. - Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District

The investigator, Jesse Prado, a retired Austin police detective, said in the report the responding officers acted in good faith, whereas multiple agencies have previously agreed law enforcement botched its response to the massacre.

The meeting, which opened with a prayer, devolved into anger and shouting as Prado admitted his probe found “many failures” in the law enforcement response but did not identify specific local police officers for not doing their jobs that day.

“You said that they did it in good faith. You call that good faith? They stood there 77 minutes and waited after they got call after call that kids were still alive in there,” said Veronica Mata, whose 10-year-old daughter Tess was killed. “We’re going to stand here and we’re going to keep fighting for our own, because nobody else is going to do it.”

CNN’s Ray Sanchez and Rachel Clarke contributed to this report.

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