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Joe Garcia visited Irma Garcia’s memorial hours before he died

The grief-stricken husband of a fourth-grade teacher senselessly slaughtered in the Texas school massacre was seen in heart-wrenching video placing flowers at a memorial to his high school sweetheart — shortly before he died of a heart attack.

Joe Garcia, 50, on Thursday morning placed a vase of red roses at a cross bearing the name of his wife, Irma Garcia, 46, who was gunned down protecting her students in the rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, footage posted by KHOU-TV shows.

The Garcias’ nephew, John Martinez, described his uncle’s final hours of anguish in an interview with the Detroit Free Press.

“What happened was my Uncle Joe went to go leave flowers for my Tia (Aunt) 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,” he told the paper in a telephone interview.

Messages are written on a cross honoring Irma Garcia.
Messages are written on a cross honoring Irma Garcia.
AP
Joe Garcia visits his wife's memorial just hours before his death from a heart attack.
Joe Garcia visits his wife’s memorial just hours before his death from a heart attack.
KENS 5
Garcia brought a vase of red roses to his wife's memorial.
Garcia brought a vase of red roses to his wife’s memorial.
KENS 5

“I’m told my mom was giving him chest compressions. It happened around 10 o’clock. I know my little brother was there,” he said.

The latest from the Texas school shooting

“They called the ambulance and I was told they couldn’t bring him back. They took him to Uvalde Memorial Hospital. I’m not sure if they confirmed his death at the house or the hospital,” Martinez continued.

The grieving nephew said it feels like the family was “hit by another truck.”

The couple leaves behind four children.
The couple leaves behind four children.
Children and their parents visit the memorial for the victims.
Children and their parents visit the memorial for the victims.
AFP via Getty Images

“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

“My heart hurts so bad for my four cousins. I did hear from my little brother that my dad’s chest was hurting, as well. My parents lost family and their best friends.”

Family members have said Joe “died of a broken heart.”

Joe Garcia seen with his family.
Joe Garcia seen with his family.
The couple had been married for 24 years.
The couple had been married for 24 years.

“I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life of more than 25 years was too much to bear,” Irma’s cousin Debra Austin wrote in a GoFundMe campaign for the family, which had raised more than $1.8 million as of early Friday. Its goal was to raise $10,000.

The couple’s four children are ages 23, 19, 15 and 13, Martinez said.

The 23-year-old son was completing boot camp with the US Marines and the 19-year-old son is a student at Texas State University, the Guardian reported, citing Irma’s school profile.

One daughter is a high school sophomore and the other is a seventh-grader, the outlet reported. The school profile has apparently since been removed.

Martinez paid tribute to his beloved aunt and uncle, telling the Detroit Free Press they were a hard-working and “true American family.”

“My Tio (Uncle) Joe would work extra hours just to provide for his family. They really are a true American family. They instilled great values and morals in their kids,” he said.

Garcia had previously been honored as Teacher of the Year.
Garcia had previously been honored as Teacher of the Year.

Irma taught alongside Eva Mireles, who was also gunned down by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos in the shooting in Uvalde, near the US border with Mexico.

The teachers reportedly died trying to protect the children from the crazed shooter.

Irma’s school profile she said she enjoyed barbecuing with her husband and listening to music.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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