WARNING — GRAPHIC DETAILS: A letter written by the devastated mum of one of the children killed in the Uvalde elementary school shooting has broken hearts after being posted online.
In the letter titled ‘The words of a Uvalde victim’s mother’ published by La Voz newspaper in Texas, Kimberley Garcia describes the gut-wrenching grief she has endured since her daughter Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was gunned down alongside 18 classmates in May.
“The chicken soup in her thermos stayed hot all day while her body grew cold,” it starts.
“She never had a chance to eat the baloney and cheese sandwich. I got up 10 minutes early to cut the crust off a sandwich that will never be eaten.”
The mum then ponders what would have happened if her daughter had used the bathroom just before the gunman entered the classroom, and if she was forced to watch one of her friend’s be killed.
“Did their blood and brains splatter across her Girl Scout uniform?” Ms Garcia said.
Uvalde victim's clothes still sitting in dryer, mum says
In one paragraph, she explains that Amerie’s clothes are still sitting in her dryer.
“There is laundry in the dryer that is Amerie’s. Clothes I never need to fold again. Clothes that are right now warmer than her body,” Ms Garcia writes.
“How will I ever be able to take them out of the dryer and where will I put them if not back in her dresser?
“I can never wash clothes in that dryer again. It will stand silent, a tomb for her pyjamas and knee socks.”
In conclusion, Ms Garcia urges others to “pay attention to what’s screaming today” in what appears to be a reference to calls for gun control in the US.
At the time of the shooting, it was reported that Amerie’s dad, Angel Garza, a medic aide, had learned of his daughter’s death while attending to another student who was “covered in blood head-to-toe”.
Since being published, the heartbreaking letter has gone viral, with people online encouraging others to read the “gutting” content.
“Holy hell these parents are living a nightmare,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Lord this hurts,” another said.
“Takes my breath and hurts my heart,” a third tweeted.
Police chief fired after pressure from parents
Following Ms Garcia’s letter, and persistent pressure from victims’ families and members of the community, the Uvalde school district’s embattled police chief was fired on Wednesday.
In a unanimous vote, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s board of trustees dismissed Police Chief Pete Arredondo following allegations he made several critical mistakes during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
“Coward!” parents yelled in a Uvalde auditorium as the meeting got underway.
Arredondo is the first officer dismissed over the hesitant and fumbling law enforcement response to the May 24 tragedy.
Only one other officer — Uvalde Police Department Lt Mariano Pargas, who was the city’s acting police chief on the day of massacre — is known to have been placed on leave for his actions during the shooting.
Arredondo, who has been on leave from the district since June 22, has come under the most intense scrutiny of the nearly 400 officers who rushed to school but waited more than an hour to confront the 18-year-old gunman in a fourth-grade classroom.
Most notably, Arredondo was criticised for not ordering officers to act sooner.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.