As the days pass since the May 24 Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, more and more stories are coming out about the victims and who they were. One particularly touching story is of Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez and Xavier James Lopez. Though the pair were young, both just 10 years old, they had a beautiful, budding romance. Both having lost their lives in the shooting, the families have confirmed that they will bury the two children side-by-side.
Two Uvalde Victims To Be Buried Next To Each Other
On the first day of fourth grade, Annabell Rodriguez’s mother Monica Gallegos says her daughter came home from school starry-eyed. She’d met a boy who she said both smelled and dressed “really nice”. That boy was her classmate Xavier. Soon after the pair began passing notes to one another in class. Their romance blossomed from there, and a few months later when the weather warmed up, their families began having barbecues together. (1)
Gallegos and Xavier’s mother Felicha Martinez soon discovered that their children were even sending each other “I love you” bedtime texts. Gallegos says that she and Martinez joked about it, questioning what two fourth-graders could really know about love.
Elementary School Sweethearts
In the springtime, Xavier gifted Annabell with a picture of him on a necklace. Annabell wore it to all of Xavier’s little league games. The rest of the time she kept it tucked safely in her backpack, but always had it with her. On the morning of May 24, the pair posed for a photo together with their honor roll certificates. Xavier was particularly proud of himself because it was the first time he had ever made the honor roll. Gallegos says she joked about her daughter’s smarts rubbing off on the little boy.
Though he was excited to go home and show his brothers, Xavier decided to stay to watch a movie and celebrate with his classmates, as did Annabell. It was about an hour after that ceremony where Martinez took that photo that the gunman stormed their classroom and killed them, along with the other students in their classroom, several students in the neighboring classroom, as well as two teachers.
A Romance That Was Meant To Be
Though the children were too young at the time to remember it, their meeting in their fourth grade classroom wasn’t actually the first time that the pair had met. They’d actually first met several years before when they were just toddlers. Annabell’s grandfather and great-grandmother lived in the same trailer park where Xavier used to live. Whenever Annabell went to visit, the two babies would play together outside.
Xavier’s grandmother describes her grandson as a loving, hardworking, energetic prankster. She says that people were just naturally drawn to him. By the age of seven, he had learned how to make his grandfather’s signature hot salsas. A budding entrepreneur, he began selling them to family and friends. Xavier used the money he made to buy toys at the dollar store for him and his little brothers. She says her grandson loved to dance cumbia, and when his grandfather would get too tired to keep dancing at the South Texan Partner dance, Xavier always stepped in to dance the rest of the night away with his grandma.
Gallegos says that her daughter Annabell loved her family. She lived with her mom, grandma, two sisters, and their pet chihuahua named Bailey. Annabell loved painting her grandmother’s nails and braiding her hair. In the summers, she ran the snow cone machine at their family’s hotdog stand alongside the Nueces and Frio rivers.
Xavier and Annabell’s relationship was no secret at Robb Elementary – even their teacher, Arnulfo Reyes, knew about it. Reyes, though severely injured in the shooting, was the only person in room 111 who survived the shooting.
“He would make things for her, he would write notes for her,” Reyes said from his hospital bed. “It brings a smile to your face just to think they really loved each other.”
The two children had separate funerals, with Xavier’s taking place this past Tuesday and Annabell’s the following day. The families had it arranged, however, so that the young couple would be buried side by side. Gallegos and their family lost not one, but two babies. Annabell’s cousin and best friend Jackie Cazares was another one of the victims. Let us hope that change will be made so a tragedy like this never happens again. (2)
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- “‘I’m not ready’: 2 Uvalde victims who texted ‘I love you’ to be buried next to one another.” ABC News. June 08, 2022.
- “What we know about the victims of the Uvalde shooting.” NY Times. May 25,2022.