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Husband Of Teacher Killed In Uvalde School Shooting Dies Of Heart Attack After Visiting Memorial
The family of Joe Garcia says the widower had a sudden heart attack just two days after his wife, Irma, was killed in one of the country's deadliest school shootings to date.
The husband of a teacher who was hailed as a hero in this week’s Uvalde, Texas school shooting has died from a heart attack, his family says.
Joe Garcia, 50, the husband of Robb Elementary School teacher Irma Garcia, 46, died from a heart attack on Thursday, his family told Fox 26 Houston news. His passing comes just two days after his wife was killed in the Uvalde mass shooting that left 19 elementary school students, his wife and another teacher dead.
Irma Garcia was shot on Tuesday by 18-year-old alleged shooter Salvador Ramos. She allegedly tried to protect her fourth-grade students in what was the country’s deadliest shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
After the tragedy, Irma and fellow teacher Eva Mirales were hailed as heroes.
News of Joe Garcia’s passing was confirmed in a tweet by Irma’s nephew John Martinez on Thursday afternoon.
“EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief,” Martinez posted. “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.”
On Thursday, Martinez spoke with the Detroit Free Press, explaining that Joe Garcia suffered a heart attack after returning from the school’s memorial.
“What happened was my Uncle Joe went to go leave flowers for my Tia Irma, his wife, and whenever he got back, he sat down at the kitchen table with his entire family, and after three minutes, he just fell over,” said Martinez. “I’m told my mom was giving him chest compressions. It happened around 10:00.”
The couple’s nephew also created a GoFundMe page shortly after Irma’s death, hoping to get $30,000 on behalf of the Garcias, who leave behind four children.
Donations had passed $350,000 as of Thursday afternoon.
Joe and Irma Garcia were married for 24 years, according to the Houston outlet. Per ABC News, the couple had been getting ready to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
A look at Irma’s school profile gives a glimpse of the life she shared with her husband.
“I love to BBQ with my husband, listen to music, and take country cruises to Concan,” it states on the school’s website. “I have my eldest Cristian, son, [sic] completing Marine boot camp and another son, Jose, attending Texas State University. My eldest daughter, Lyliana, will be a sophomore in high school, and my youngest, Alysandra, will be a 7th grader this year.”
John Martinez noted on Twitter that the couple’s children were ages 23, 19, 15 and 14.
Martinez says Irma and Joe were high school sweethearts.
“My Tio Joe would work extra hours just to provide for his family,” Martinez told the Press. “They really are a true American family."
#JoeGarcia is currently trending on Twitter, with many noting how the widower died from an apparent broken heart.
Tuesday’s mass shooting has left the world in shock after suspected shooter Ramos entered the elementary school, locked himself in Garcia and Mirales' fourth grade classroom, and opened fire, according to ABC News. Ramos allegedly brought two AR-15-style rifles, one of which police believe he used in the massacre, just days after his recent 18th birthday.
The suspect died after a U.S. Border Patrol team stormed the classroom and shot Ramos dead.
Irma Garcia is expected to be laid to rest next week.