According to the family, the husband of one of the teachers who was slain in the school shooting in Texas this week passed away on Thursday after collapsing while preparing for his wife’s burial.
Irma Garcia, the wife of Joe Garcia, had been Joe Garcia’s high school sweetheart for 24 years until she was murdered on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, NBC News reports.
“I don’t even know how to feel. I don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it.” [that Joe Garcia had passed away], said John Martinez, Irma Garcia’s nephew.
Martinez continued: “When he got home, he was at home for no more than three minutes after sitting down on a chair with the family. He just fell over. They tried doing chest compressions, and nothing worked. The ambulance came, and they couldn’t, they couldn’t bring them back.”
Reportedly, one of Garcia’s other nephews said that he had “died from grief” after Garcia’s passing away.
Irma Garcia and co-teacher Eva Mireles, together with 19 students, were among those who perished in the shooting at the school located around 85 miles west of San Antonio. During the shooting rampage, her son Christian Garcia said that a friend of his who worked in law enforcement and was there at the scene observed his mother protecting students. She died a hero.
Martinez said that that Joe Garcia “went to go deliver flowers for Irma at the memorial for her.”
“When he got home, he was at home for no more than three minutes after sitting down on a chair with the family. He just fell over. They tried doing chest compressions, and nothing worked. The ambulance came, and they couldn’t, they couldn’t bring them back.”
“He called me and he said, like, ‘Please pray for Joe.’ That’s all he told me,” Martinez said. “And I said, ‘What happened?’ And he was like: ‘I don’t know. We don’t know yet.’ And then I get a call, I think no more than 30 minutes later, with him crying and saying he didn’t make it.”
NBC notes that: “It’s a classic case of broken heart syndrome from what’s been described,” said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The onset of broken heart syndrome is generally instantaneous after the hearing of distressing information, he said. However, it’s possible that some individuals need more time to mentally digest losses than others, which means that broken heart syndrome could not manifest straight away for them.
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