Funeral services for children killed in mass shooting continue amid mourning for Uvalde as police and bikers block press

Residents of Uvalde mourned together privately Thursday as three more victims of the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary were laid to rest.

As Texas travelers paid their respects at an ornate memorial in the center of town, laying roses and teddy bears at the feet of wooden crosses for each of the children and teachers killed, mourners paid their respects to Eliahna Torres, Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo and Maranda Mathis. The three fourth graders were among 19 children killed along with their teachers, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, on May 24 when an 18-year-old gunman burst into their classroom. The litany of visitations, funerals and burials began on Monday and will continue until mid-June.

Thursday’s funeral began at the Rushing-Estes-Knowles morgue with Eliahna, whose obituary describes her as a compassionate, silly 10-year-old who loved softball and Tik Tok. The other two children had funerals later that day, one at Rushing-Estes and the other at Sacred Heart Church.

Journalists were barred from the ceremonies and most residents refused to speak to the press after a days-long barrage of media attention. The emotions were still fresh.

“Every child I see at HEB, I want to hug them,” said Francisca Baron, a longtime Uvalde resident who lived near the funeral home where Torres’ ceremony was held. “It’s so bad.”

Fire engines and a fleet of police from Uvalde and towns across Texas – including Allen, Pearland, Conroe, Lubbock – created a blockade around the Rushing-Estes Knowles morgue, Sacred Heart Memorial Church and cemetery Hillcrest Memorial, threatened to arrest to prevent reporters from approaching the property.

They were assisted by dozens of bikers who were members of at least three clubs: Guardians of the Children, Thin Blue Line LEMC and Marines MC. Bikers physically obstructed cameras in media areas, followed journalists and harassed them as they approached the ceremonies. A member of the motorcycle club, who declined to be named, was part of a group called Guardians of the Children and said they worked with the police.

“They asked us to be here,” the woman said.

Outside Torres’ funeral, another unidentified member of the motorcycle club said, “We just want to give families a safe and peaceful space.”

The Uvalde School Massacre

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