The only thing Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was thinking about on May 24 was summer vacation before she called 9-1-1 as a gunman entered her Robb Elementary classroom minutes before taking her life.
On Tuesday, the Girl Scouts gave her a special honor, announcing that Garza would posthumously receive its highest honor: The Bronze Cross.
Garza received the Bronze Cross for the selfless act of “…saving or attempting to save [a] life at the risk of the Girl Scout’s own life.”
Amerie Jo’s stepfather, Angel Garza, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the moment he discovered what happened to his daughter.
Garza, a medical aid, arrived at the scene and came across a little girl who was “covered in blood, head to toe.”
Garza walked over to the girl, ready to render aid.
“She was hysterical, saying that they shot her best friend, that they killed her best friend, she’s not breathing, and that she was trying to call the cops,” Garza said.
Garza asked the little girl who her best friend was, and she said it was Amerie Jo.
“She was just trying to do the right thing” in calling the police, Garza said.
Amerie Jo had wanted her own phone for a long time, and Garza said they gave her one for her birthday just two weeks before.
“She was so scared of just strangers and things like this. She would lock the door when I would step out to put gas in the car. This is literally her worst fear, and she was just trying to help everyone,” he said.
“She just tried to call the police. I got confirmation from two of the students in her classroom that she was just trying to call authorities. And I guess he just shot her,” he cried, clutching a photo of Amerie Jo to his chest. “How do you look at this girl and shoot her?”
Steven McGraw, director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said 11 different people called 9-1-1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:51 p.m. Most calls came from the kids.
The Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas took to Twitter to honor Amerie Jo.
“On May 24, Amerie did all she could to save the lives of her classmates and teachers,” the post stated. “We will carry her story with us always and ensure her brave actions will endure for generations.”
On May 24, Amerie did all she could to save the lives of her classmates and teachers. It was our honor as Amerie’s council to present the Bronze Cross to her family, and Girl Scouts will continue to pay tribute at her funeral services today with a Presentation of Colors. 2/3
— Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (@girlscoutsswtx) May 31, 2022
Amerie Jo’s funeral was the first of 21 to be held in Uvalde. The Girl Scouts attended and presented her family with her Bronze Cross and conducted the Presentation of Colors ceremony.
This was not Garza’s first act of bravery. David Trevino said she stood up for his daughter when other students were bullying her the day before the shooting.
A family friend set up a GoFundMe with the following:
“She lit up every room she walked into. She received an award yesterday for honor roll just before the shooting occurred. She was so smart and such a good child.”