The husband of one of the teachers killed in a Texas school shooting this week collapsed and died on Thursday while preparing for his wife’s funeral, the family said.
Joe Garcia had been married to high school sweetheart, Irma Garcia, for 24 years before she was gunned down Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
“I don’t even know how to feel. I don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it” that Joe Garcia has passed away, Irma Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, told NBC News.
Irma Garcia and co-teacher Eva Mireles were both killed along with 19 children at the school that’s about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
Her son, Christian Garcia, said a friend in law enforcement who was at the scene saw his mother shielding students during the rampage.
Martinez said he was told that Joe Garcia “went to go deliver flowers for Irma at the memorial for her.”
“When he got home, he was at home for no more than three minutes after sitting down on a chair with the family. He just fell over. They tried doing chest compressions and nothing worked. The ambulance came and they couldn’t, they couldn’t bring them back.”
Martinez said he first learned the news from his younger brother.
“He called me and he said like, ‘Please pray for Joe.’ That’s all he told me,” Martinez said. “And I said. ‘What happened? ‘And he was like, ‘I don’t know. We don’t know yet.’ And then I get a call I think, no more than 30 minutes later with him crying and saying he didn’t make it.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
David K. Li and Maya Brown contributed.