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21 crosses stand in front of Uvalde's Robb Elementary to honor those who were killed

A memorial to the students and faculty who died stands in front of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It's not clear who put the memorial up and authorities have not released the names of the deceased.
Stephen Lister
/
NPR
A memorial to the students and faculty who died stands in front of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It's not clear who put the memorial up and authorities have not released the names of the deceased.

UVALDE, Texas — In front of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the site of a mass shooting this week that killed 19 students and two faculty members, community members arrived to lay flowers and candles on 21 crosses, each bearing the name of a victim.

They walked through a sea of TV cameras and tents as a crowd of reporters did live television hits in front of the school.

Maria Alvarez, 80, approached the scene with her brother. She held a white religious candle and he carried a bouquet of white flowers. "We came to pay our respects," she said.

"I was crying when I heard the news," added Alvarez, who lives around the corner from the school. Her great-granddaughter is a student at Robb Elementary and was there on the day of the shooting, but was unharmed.

"She's safe, thank God. She's safe," Alvarez said, tearing up.

Authorities have not released a list of victims, and NPR has not independently confirmed that all of the names shown on the crosses are accurate. It's not clear who put up the memorial.

"The children!" cried Linda Martinez, a retired pastor who came to the scene with a bouquet of flowers. "So young. I just can't believe it's real. We just have to help each other."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.