The husband of one of the teachers killed in the Texas elementary school shooting has died of a heart attack just two days after the mass shooting, his family said on Thursday. Joe Garcia, the grief-stricken husband of Irma Garcia, 46, died suddenly on Thursday of a heart attack unable to bear the tragic death of his wife.
Irma Garcia died on Tuesday along with 20 others, including 19 children, after Salvador Ramos, 18, opened fire at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Two days later, the Garcia family got yet another shock after Joe died in front of other family members after suffering a massive heart attack.
Died in Grief
According to reports, Joe Garcia was doing fine in the morning although he was heartbroken from the moment he had heard of his wife Irma Garcia's death on Tuesday. However, things changed within a couple of hours.
After spending some time at his home, he went out to place flowers at the gravesite of Irma Garcia on Thursday morning. He then returned home. According to his nephew, John Martinez, when he returned, he sat down at a kitchen table surrounded by family.
He spoke for some time and then suddenly collapsed in front of everyone. Attempts to resuscitate him were futile.
"EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma's husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief," the nephew said.
"i truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn't easy."
"the pain doesn't stop," he added, minutes later.
Later, family members confirmed to Fox26 that the cause of death was a heart attack. A GoFundMe page has been started for the funeral of both Joe and Ima Garcia.
Joe and Irma Garcia met in college and had been married for 24 years. They had four children. It's unclear how old the children are. Irma and fellow teacher Eva Mireles, 44, died defending students from the gunman's bullets, according to survivors.
"She passed away with children in her arms trying to protect them," Garcia's nephew John Martinez wrote on Twitter.
"Those weren't just her students, they were her kids as well."
In a poignant tribute on Wednesday, Mireles' daughter told how her mother "jumped in front of students."
"I don't know how to do this life without you, but I will take care of dad. I will take care of our dogs and I will forever say your name so you are always remembered, Eva Mireles, 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary who selflessly jumped in front of her students to save their lives," Adalynn Ruiz wrote on Facebook.
A separate GoFundMe set up by Martinez, a nephew of Irma, described the two as "high school sweethearts" who were "loved by many."
"The money will be used for any expenses needed for the future education of their children and for the family needs," the campaign said. The GoFundMe page, which was created after Irma Garcia died and later updated, described the teacher as "sweet, kind, and loving," and stated that she died protecting her kids.
Irma Garcia was one of 19 contenders from the San Antonio area for Trinity University's medal for teaching excellence in 2019. She was a third-grade teacher at the time, with a focus on history studies and ELAR, or English Language Arts and Reading.
She had taught at Robb Elementary for 23 years and was named 'teacher of the year' in the past. Their oldest son is in military boot camp, while her second son is a student at Texas State University. She also has two younger daughters.