UVALDE, Texas — One student was an avid runner, so fast she swept the races at field day. Another was learning football plays from his grandfather. One girl sensed something was wrong and wanted to skip school.

On Wednesday, stories began to emerge about the lives of the 19 fourth-graders — “precious individuals” according to the school district superintendent — and their two teachers who were gunned down behind a barricaded door at Robb Elementary School in the southwestern Texas town of Uvalde.

Vincent Salazar said his 10-year-old daughter, Layla, loved to swim and dance to Tik Tok videos. She was fast — she won six races at the school’s field day, and Salazar proudly posted a photo of Layla showing off two of her ribbons on Facebook.

Each morning as he drove her to school in his pickup, Salazar would play “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘n’ Roses, and they’d sing along, he said.

Manny Renfro lost his 8-year-old grandson, Uziyah Garcia, in the shooting.

Veronica Luevanos, whose 10-year-old daughter, Jailah Nicole Silguero, was among the victims, tearfully told Univision that her daughter did not want to go to school Tuesday and seemed to sense something bad was going to happen. Jailah’s cousin also died in the shooting.

All of the dead were in the same fourth-grade classroom, where the shooter barricaded himself Tuesday and opened fire on the children and their teachers, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told a news conference Wednesday. He said the gunman used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in the attack and posted on Facebook shortly before the shooting: “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”

Schools Superintendent Hal Harrell fought back tears as he spoke of the children and their teachers.

The two teachers “poured their heart and soul” into their work, Harrell said.

Teacher Eva Mireles, 44, was remembered as a loving mother and wife. “She was adventurous. ... She is definitely going to be very missed,” said 34-year-old relative Amber Ybarra, of San Antonio.

In a post on the school’s website at the start of the school year, Mireles had introduced herself to her new students.

The other slain teacher, Irma Garcia, wrote about her four children, including one who was in the Marines, in a letter introducing herself to the class. Garcia’s 21-year-old nephew, John Martinez, told the Detroit Free Press the family was struggling to grasp that while Garcia’s son trained for combat, it was his mother who was shot to death.

Relatives of 10-year-old Eliahna Garcia recalled her love of family.

Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, Texas, mourned the death of her 10-year-old cousin, Xavier Javier Lopez, who had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming.

“He was just a loving ... little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen,” she said. “He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.”

She lamented what she described as lax gun laws.

Arizmendi also spoke angrily, through tears, about how the shooter managed to get a gun.

As Ybarra prepared to give blood for the wounded, she wondered how no one noticed trouble with the shooter in time to stop him.

Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home, which is located across the street from Robb Elementary School, said in a Facebook post that it would be assisting families of the shooting victims with no cost for funerals.

GoFundMe pages were set up for many of the victims.

Associated Press writers Jim Vertuno in Uvalde, Texas; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Jamie Stengle in Dallas; Don Babwin in Chicago; Stephen Groves in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kansas; John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, and Jill Zeman Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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