The husband of Irma Garcia, one of the fourth-grade teachers who died in the shooting at Robb Elementary School, died just days after the attack, members of the Garcia family said Thursday.
Debra Austin, Garcia’s cousin, wrote in a GoFundMe update that Joe Garcia died Thursday morning “as a result of a medical emergency.”
John Martinez, who identified himself as Garcia’s nephew, said in a tweet Joe Garcia “passed away due to grief,” and that he was at “a loss for words for how we are all feeling.”
Martinez and a close family friend told ABC News that Joe Garcia died of a heart attack.
The couple was going to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary together this year and had four children together, according to Garcia’s page on the Uvalde Independent School District website.
“I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life of more than 30 years was too much to bear,” Austin said.
Irma Garcia was a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary, and had been co-teaching in the same classroom for five years with Eva Mireles, another teacher killed in the attack. Martinez told People Garcia died protecting her students, and was found with one of her students dead in her arms. The 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, crashed a pickup truck into a ditch near the school before he walked unobstructed into the school, where he killed 19 students and injured 17 others. Law enforcement arrived at the school about four minutes after Ramos walked in, but it took about an hour for U.S. Border Patrol tactical units to arrive, make entry and shoot the gunman. Video footage posted on social media appeared to show parents pleading with officers gathered outside the school to go inside, and one parent told the Associated Press he proposed charging into the school with other bystanders because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to.”