Joe Garcia had been the high school sweetheart of Irma Garcia, who was one of two teachers killed in the bloody rampage. The Garcias had been married for 24 years and are survived by four children, FOX26Houston reported.
“EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, 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,” John Martinez, Garcia’s nephew, tweeted.
Irma Garcia was shot while trying to defend her fourth grade class from the shooter, who went on to kill 19 students and Irma Garcia’s colleague, Eva Mireles, according to Martinez. An 18-year-old assailant wielded an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during his attack, which also wounded 17.
A woman named Debra Austin, who claims to be a cousin of Irma Garcia, posted an update to a GoFundMe campaign for the Garcia family, claiming Joe Garcia died from “a medical emergency.”
“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart, and losing the love of his life of more than 30 years was too much to bear,” she said.
Austin also heaped praise on Irma Garcia, emphasizing,” She would literally do anything for anybody … no questions asked. She loved her classroom kids and died trying to protect them.”
The shooting took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and has become the third deadliest school shooting in American history.
On Wednesday, a video emerged showing parents begging law enforcement to enter the school with the 18-year-old shooter inside. The parents had begged officials for permission to intervene but were blocked from entering. Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened during the rampage.
The shooting has sparked a renewed national debate on gun laws. Lawmakers in the Senate are currently working to find common ground on the dicey political issue. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has declared the Senate will vote on additional gun control measures even if bipartisan negotiations fail.