The uncle of Uvalde mass shooting victim Ellie Garcia, 9, stunned the world Sunday by admitting at the tail end of an interview that he’s already forgiven mass shooter Salvador Ramos.
Garcia’s uncle, Adrian Alonzo, made the admission after CNN’s Dana Bash asked him what sounded like a baited question.
“What would you like to see happen so that another Ellie is not gunned down in school or anywhere else?” she asked.
Critics suspect she was hoping to trigger a gun control rant from him. But that’s certainly not what happened.
Watch the full back-and-forth exchange, including the part before the admission, below:
“She was filled with so much joy.”
Adrian Alonzo, the uncle of Ellie Garcia who is one of the victims of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, shares with @DanaBashCNN the moment he learned his niece did not survive. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/Pf41w6YKVj
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2022
“Change. I know we say that there needs to be change, and we can …,” Alonzo began replying before suddenly changing course.
“As a Christian, I’m not here to blame anyone. I don’t want to point the finger at anyone. Yes, he was the one that pulled the trigger. But I forgive him,” he continued, prompting shock from Bash.
“Wow! Already. We’re just days away. You haven’t even buried your niece, and you forgive him already?” the CNN reporter asked in confusion.
Alonzo responded by citing the Bible.
“The Bible says in Ephesians 4 that we must forgive one another just as God has forgiven you. And I hold no hatred towards him. I hold no hatred towards the law enforcement. Yes, there were maybe some errors that were made,” he said.
“I am filled with anger, but I feel no hatred towards him. We were thankful to have Ellie for the nine years of her life with us. We will never forget her. She will always be a part of this family, even in her death.”
Ellie Garcia loved her family, her church, basketball and her dog Rocco. She would have been 10 next month. I had the honor of talking to her uncle here in #Uvalde which we will share on @CNNSotu Sunday pic.twitter.com/g8tDHR52nA
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) May 28, 2022
Earlier during the interview, Alonzo, whose son thankfully survived the Uvalde mass shooting, described how he’d learned about his niece’s death.
He said that when he arrived at Robb Elementary School, he saw his son coming outside. That moment left him overjoyed.
“I can’t explain the joy I had when I saw my son walk out of those doors, and I finally had him. 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,” he recalled.
But that joy quickly dissipated after he discovered that his niece was missing. Desperate for answers, he began asking school officials about her possible whereabouts.
“The school officials told me that there’s no more children here — they’ve all been picked up. ‘Do you have a list? Do you have a list of the students that were here?’ 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,'” he recalled.
Alonzo then returned home with his son and later saw on social media that his niece’s teacher, Eva Mireles, had been killed in the mass shooting.
“I knew that something was wrong. I saw a Facebook post being shared around, and it was a whiteboard of all the teachers’ names who were in the civic center. And Ellie’s teachers were not one of them. So that’s when they announced the first victim, Eva Mireles. They announced her. She was Ellie’s teacher,” he said, growing emotional.
“And in my mind, I tried to stay optimistic, but the reality of it was sinking in at that time. More victims were being published, children, and they were in her class. And it wasn’t until my wife told me that they were taking DNA swabs from all the parents, and I instantly knew she [Garcia] was gone. Why else would they need DNA swabs to find a missing child? And sure enough, about an hour later, my wife called me and said they found her, she didn’t make it.”
Ellie Garcia’s great aunt, Siria Arizmendi, said she can’t remember Ellie ever fighting with her sisters.
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 27, 2022
— Nick Bradshaw (@nbradshawtv) May 25, 2022
Garcia was one of 19 children who were murdered during the Uvalde mass shooting at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday in Texas. Two teachers, including Mireles, were also murdered.
The mass shooting triggered another loud outcry for gun control from the left. It also triggered anger against the Uvalde Police Department (UPD), who it was found could have stopped the attack far sooner but instead chose to wait outside the classroom inside which Ramos had barricaded himself.
The attack didn’t end until a fed-up U.S. Border Patrol unit stormed the classroom in defiance of the UPD and killed Ramos. But by then, he’d already killed almost everybody in the classroom.
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