Daughter of hero Uvalde school teacher pays heartbreaking tribute to mom who shielded students
UVALDE, TEXAS: The daughter of a teacher who was killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in May 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, remembered her "hero" mother and spoke of how she "didn't even hesitate" to shield her students from the bullets.
Adalynn Ruiz, 23, last heard from her mother Eva Mireles on the morning of May 24, 2022, when they were texting about a CrossFit backpack. Adalynn said when she heard about the shooting at the school hours later, she was initially more concerned about her father, a school district police officer. However, she didn't think something would happen to her mother.
“I started reading on Facebook that the shooter was inside a classroom. And then, I kind of started to freak out a little bit,” Adalynn told ABC News’ Maria Elena Salinas on Monday, October 3, 2022. “But I didn’t think, like, ‘It’s not my mom. It’s not gonna be my mom.’” The heartbroken daughter said she became worried after her mother stopped answering her phone calls. “I called her again and she didn’t answer, but I figured she can’t be on her phone. She’s taking care of her kids,” Adalynn recalled. “She didn’t answer me again, and then I was talking to my tias -- her sisters. They were asking, like, ‘What about your mom? Is she OK? Is she OK?’ I just kept saying, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’”
As mentioned, Adalynn was concerned about her father Ruben Ruiz, a school district police officer with Uvalde CISD who also responded to the scene at Robb. “I wasn’t really freaking out about my mom,” she said. “One of my worst fears was an active shooter, since my dad is an officer. That’s what scared me the most.”
Her father eventually escaped unscathed, but Adalynn soon found that her mother had been shot. “My tia had called me and said that my mom had been shot,” she said. “So I just remember dropping my phone, and I just started screaming and crying, and that was like one of my worst fears… somebody coming and shooting my family. And it happened.”
Adalynn's coworker drove her home to Uvalde, about an hour away from her workplace. “It felt like the longest drive ever, just waiting and waiting," she said. "I texted my mom and said, ‘You’re gonna be OK, Mom, I love you so much.’ And that’s the last thing I sent her before I found out she didn’t make it.”
Fourth-grade teacher Mireles, 44, was one of two teachers and 19 children shot and killed at Robb Elementary School. 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school armed with an AR-15 and remained there for over an hour before he was fatally shot by law enforcement officers.
Adalynn posted an emotional tribute to her mother that made waves on social media. “Mom, you are a hero,” she wrote. “I keep telling myself this isn’t real. I just want to hear your voice.”
My sweet mommy , I will miss you forever. 🤍🕊 pic.twitter.com/SIxKrgX6Xi— Adalynn ✞💛 (@addy_celeste) May 25, 2022
Adalynn said she wasn't surprised when she learned several months later that her mother died while trying to shield her students from the gunman. “When I heard that she jumped in front of her students, I think my first thought was, ‘Of course, of course, she would,’” the devastated daughter said. “That’s just her. That’s just who she was.” Adalynn continued, “[She] always wanted to make sure that her students were happy and taken care of. I know she didn’t even hesitate to step in front of [her students].”
She added that her mother was "a hero way before this" and that she hoped to follow in her footsteps. “She has just always inspired me. She was dedicated to her job and a hard worker. She was strong. I just, I really hope to be exactly like her,” Adalynn said.
Eva Mireles’ husband Ruben Ruiz & daughter Adalynn Ruiz watching her mural get completed. Marco Antonio Solis played on the family’s speaker “No hay nada más difícil que vivir sin ti” when this picture was taken — almost everyone cried. I gave Adalynn the photo & she loved it. pic.twitter.com/4YsYvseEjz— Jose Arredondo (@sportsguyjose) July 18, 2022
The 23-year-old said she also hoped to see stricter gun laws in Texas. “We should be the last family to have to go through this,” she lamented. “This should be an eye-opener to a lot of people. Who’s next, you know? Whose family is gonna be next if this doesn’t stop?”
Adalynn is currently focusing her efforts on the 'Remember Their Names' festival scheduled for October 30, 2022. The fall event is expected to celebrate the Uvalde victims through food, music, and other activities. Proceeds will go towards funding 22 scholarships, one in honor of each victim and another in honor of the survivors.
But despite keeping herself occupied, Adalynn is still struggling to live with the loss. “I’m gonna have to miss my mom longer than I’ve known her,” she told ABC News, adding, “I still have the rest of my life, and how am I supposed to do that without my mom?”