Amerie, 10, loved her lessons, drawing and playing with clay, and was among 19 children killed in cold blood by an 18-year-old gunman at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, one of the worst massacres in recent years in the country.
“My granddaughter was here. She was an innocent child, who loved school and looked forward to summer,” said Ms. Mendoza, 63, in front of the establishment transformed into a memorial for the victims and where were laid many wreaths of flowers.
Dora Mendoza, who lived with Amerie and last saw her at a year-end ceremony hours before the shooting, wants US officials like Joe Biden and Texas Governor Greg Abbott to work together on measures concrete.
The Democratic president, who is due to visit Uvalde in the coming days, and the Republican elected official are at odds on the question of the restrictions to be imposed on arms sales and the way to combat the outbreak of gun violence in the USA.
– “Do not forget them” –
“They shouldn’t just wait…for a tragedy to happen,” says Dora Mendoza
“They have to do something about it. They mustn’t forget us babies… Please don’t forget them,” she adds in a mixture of English and Spanish.
“Do something, I beg you!” cried Ms. Mendoza again, shaking with sobs. “All those cries and all those innocent babies… We don’t know what they went through.”
Like the grandmother of Amérie, several residents of Uvalde came to meditate in front of the school where 21 small wooden crosses were erected for the children and the two teachers killed.
Among those who came to pay their respects, Yaritza Rangel, 23, accompanied by her four children to lay flowers.
“We are all suffering. We didn’t think it could happen here”, where most of the inhabitants know each other, she explains.
If she prefers to avoid talking about politics, Ms. Rangel points to three measures that she would like to see come into force: extensive background checks, increased security in schools and an increase in the minimum age to buy weapons. .
“It doesn’t make sense,” she said. “You have to wait until you’re 21 to buy booze, why do they let 18 year olds buy guns?”
Yaritza Rangel’s young nephew, who was in a class at Robb School which the gunman tried to enter without success, is traumatized by the attack, and the young woman now fears for her own children.
Her son will soon start primary school and the prospect of violence keeps him awake.
“What if it happened again?” she asks.