The uncle of a Uvalde victim says he forgives the gunman, calls for a ban on AR-15-style rifles

·3 min read
Law enforcement officers guard the scene of a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Law enforcement officers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.Marco Bello/Reuters
  • Adrian Alonzo told CNN he has forgiven the Uvalde shooter who killed 19 school children and two teachers.

  • Alonzo's son survived the shooting, but his niece, Ellie Garcia, did not.

  • While he has forgiven the shooter, he still believes there should be a ban on AR-15s.

The uncle of a Uvalde school shooting victim says he has forgiven the gunman who killed his niece.

"I forgive him. As powerful as that, I forgive him," Adrian Alonzo told CNN about the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 school children and two teachers at Robb Elementary school last Tuesday.

"The Bible says in Ephesians 4 that we must forgive one another, just as God has forgiven. And I hold no hatred toward him... I am filled with anger, but I feel no hatred towards him," he added.

Alonzo told CNN he was relieved when he saw his son walk out of Robb Elementary School alive on Tuesday. "I can't explain the joy I had when I saw my son walk out of those doors, and I finally had him," Alonzo told CNN. "But as a parent, I wanted to squeeze him right there, but I wanted to get him out because I didn't want him to see all that."

His relief was short-lived after he found out his niece, Ellie Garcia, was unaccounted for. He begged officials for information.

"'Do you have a list? Do you have a list of the students that were here?'" Alonzo asked officials, per CNN. "That school official, I could see it in her eyes, and her eyes became glassy and teary, and she said, 'Sir, they'll make a statement soon.'"

"''But I'm missing my niece. She's not here,'" Alonzo said he responded. The official repeated that a statement would come soon.

Alonzo told CNN that he later found out Ellie's teacher, Eva Mireles, was dead, and he felt "the reality of it was sinking in."

"It wasn't until my wife told me that they were taking DNA swabs from all the parents," Alonzo said. "Why else would they need DNA swabs?"

He found out an hour later that his niece, who was excited about her upcoming 10th birthday in June, was dead.

"By far the worst day of my life," he said. "And I'll never forget that day. I can replay those hours so vividly in my mind, and it's just etched in my mind."

Alonzo said he feels anger when he wonders if his niece may have survived if police breached the classroom sooner, Alonzo told CNN.

In at least 12 instances, police have changed the narrative of how law enforcement reacted to the shooting. Local authorities initially said they responded "within minutes" to the shooting. Officials later said roughly 40 minutes to an hour passed between the time the shooter entered the premises and when he was killed by a Border Patrol agent. Authorities now say the gunman's rampage within the school lasted a total of 78 minutes.

"She could have been saved. She might have been injured. We don't know if she was alive within those, what was it, 70 minutes," Alonzo said. "I can only hope that she felt no pain and I hope it was quick and she did not suffer."

Alonzo, a gun owner himself, said he doesn't want to take guns away from civilians, but he is in favor of banning AR-15-style weapons like the one used by the gunman.

"I am for the ban of AR-15 assault rifles. No civilian should have that kind of rifle, only military and police. Those are weapons of war, and civilians do not need weapons of war," Alonzo said.

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