WASHINGTON (AFP) — The husband of a heroic fourth grade teacher who was killed protecting her students during a massacre at a Texas elementary school has died of an apparent heart attack.
A GoFundMe page set up by Debra Austin, who said she was the cousin of teacher Irma Garcia, said that Irma’s husband Joe “has tragically passed away this morning (5/26/2022) as a result of a medical emergency.”
“I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life,” she added.
John Martinez, who identified himself as Garcia’s nephew, also tweeted: “EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia (aunt) Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief.”
Ernie Zuniga, a news anchor for local station Kabb Fox in San Antonio, Texas, tweeted that Garcia had died from a heart attack.
Garcia, 50 years old and had just returned home from leaving flowers at Irma’s memorial when he “pretty much just fell over,” his nephew, John Martinez, told The New York Times.
The couple, who were married for 24 years, according to the website of the Robb Elementary school, leave behind four children.
EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, i truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy pic.twitter.com/GlUSOutRVV
— john martinez ❤️???? (@fuhknjo) May 26, 2022
Both Irma Garcia and her co-teacher Eva Mireles, who had connected classrooms, died in the mass shooting.
The shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was inside the building for at least 40 minutes before police entered and fatally shot him.