Husband Of Teacher Slain In Texas Shooting Dies Of Heart Attack Days Later

Mason Joseph Zimmer
Joe Garcia at family function with wife, teacher and Texas  school shooting victim Irma Garcia
Facebook | Terrence Lee

Joe Garcia — husband of one of two teachers who reportedly sacrificed their lives during a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas — has passed away of a heart attack days after losing his wife.

Just under 10 years after the nation was scarred once an active shooter killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, America mourns once again in the wake of another tragedy that struck more of its children.

This comes at a time when parents must already weigh the practical benefits of sending their children to school with bulletproof backpacks and when it's become easier than ever to lose count of similar incidents.

But while we can often only imagine how much these tragedies devastate the families of those who have fallen, we are now faced with one solemn reminder that grief can kill as much as a bullet.

On May 24, a teenaged active shooter walked into a fourth grade classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and opened fire.

young woman mourning at crucifix memorial adroned with flowers at sign outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas
Getty Images | Anadolu Agency

According to ABC News, the time before his death in an exchange of fire with law enforcers saw him fatally shoot 19 children as well as teachers Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, who had co-taught their class for the last five years.

Both reportedly gave their lives to protect their students from further harm.

Garcia was warmly remembered as a dedicated and award winning teacher of 23 years who spent her whole career at Robb Elementary.

teacher and Texas school shooting victim Irma Garcia smiling in gray blouse
twitter | @Ernie_Zuniga

And her nephew John Martinez is doing his part to ensure that she is also remembered as a hero.

In his words, "They weren't just her students. Those were her kids, and she put her life on the line, she lost her life to protect them. That's the type of person she was."

Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia standing together at Robb Elementary School
twitter | @BeschlossDC

Officers also described her as "embracing children in her arms pretty much until her last breath."

Garcia was also in a loving marriage with Joe Garcia, who she had met when they both were in the eighth grade.

Joe Garcia at family function with wife, teacher and Texas  school shooting victim Irma Garcia
Facebook | Terrence Lee

The couple were preparing to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this year and had four children together between the ages of 12 and 23.

In a caption for a Facebook photo obtained by the BBC, Garcia wrote, "Thank you Jesus for my amazing husband and my babies."

Irma Garcia sitting among her children
twitter | @Amy_Siskind

Yet not only would their children suddenly lose Garcia, but Martinez confirmed to ABC News that Joe would also pass away from a heart attack just two days after the massacre.

This second loss comes a day after Martinez started a GoFundMe campaign to support his aunt's family.

Irma Garcia standing with nephew Joey Martinez at graduation party
Getty Images | @Joeymtz4

At the time of this writing, the campaign has vastly eclipsed its $30,000 goal and as a result, over $277,000 will now go towards funeral expenses and the family's needs.

Of course, these needs are now even more stark with Joe's passing.

h/t: ABC News, BBC