'I had no idea this was going to be our last farewell,' Texas family lamented on social media following a school massacre.
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary, was grinning with pleasure in a family photo uploaded on Facebook by her mother on Tuesday, showing the youngster holding a "A" Honor Roll certificate for good grades.
A gunman broke into Alexandria's classroom hours after the photo was taken, killing her, 18 other children, and two teachers in the bloodiest US school shooting in nearly a decade.
Alexandria's mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, wrote on Facebook, "We promised her we loved her and would pick her up after school." "We had no idea this was going to be our last farewell."
Mata-Rubio was one of many people who used social media to express recollections of their deceased relatives and friends. Reading the posts was heartbreaking.
Veronica Luevanos, the mother of fourth-grader Jailah Silguero, posted on Facebook on Wednesday, "My darling, you didn't deserve this." The girl's classmates, teachers, and cousin Jayce Carmelo Luevanos were also killed in the incident, according to the post.
Faith Mata stated she remembers her departed sister Tess Mata especially for the good times they spent together.
“Sissy Faith commented on Facebook, "I miss you so much."
"All I want to do is hold you and tell you how beautiful you are; I want to take you outside and play softball with you; I want to have one last family vacation with you; I want to hear your infectious laugh; and I want you to hear me tell you how much I love you."
The Texas incident was the bloodiest school shooting since a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, killing 26 people, including 20 children.
According to US Census data, Uvalde, located in the Texas Hill Country about 80 miles (130 km) west of San Antonio, has about 16,000 residents, virtually all of whom are Hispanic or Latino. It is a close-knit community with strong family ties and friendships, similar to Newtown.
Funeral monies have been raised through GoFundMe pages set up for the community and some of the families.
"We as family know he is now with his Grandpa Benny in the Kingdom of Heaven," relatives said in a fundraising letter for fourth-grader Xavier Lopez's burial.
So far, over $100,000 has been raised from over 3,900 gifts, considerably exceeding the $17,000 goal.
On Wednesday, family members did not immediately respond to Reuters' attempts for comment.
'EXTREMELY TIGHT HUG'
Steven Garcia paid a touching tribute to his late daughter on social media, writing, "Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever... I was going to DJ for her at her party because she requested it!!!"
Garcia's Facebook page was inundated with messages of support and sorrow. Eli B. Ruiz wrote, "Not only was she my young cousin, but she was also my daughter's age."
"Remember how Steven Garcia gave me a big hug on the day of my father's funeral? I'll do the same for him."
Ellie, who was a member of a local young basketball team, was also mourned by Erica Mena, a Uvalde resident. She posted a series of photos of the squad playing games and holding trophies on Facebook.'
"Ellie was our team's hype lady and the squad's heart; she never missed a practise and was the loudest while shouting for her team!" Mena expressed herself on Facebook.
Annabelle Rodriguez and Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, both ten years old, were also shot and killed, according to ABC News.
"Jackie was always the one that went out of her way to help people," her father remarked. "It gives me some comfort to know that she would have been the little cracker who would have helped her friends in that terrifying situation."