Two classmates who were killed in the Uvalde school shooting are being laid to rest side by side.
Ten-year-olds Xavier Lopez and Annabell Rodriguez were laid to rest on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, less than three weeks after they were fatally shot in their Robb Elementary classroom. Their families told ABC News the classmates originally met when they were toddlers, but didn’t develop a friendship until Annabell’s first day of fourth grade last year.
Annabell’s mother, Monica Gallegos, recalled her daughter returning home from school that day and talking about a boy who dressed and smelled “really nice.” Gallegos would later learn that the little boy was Xavier, who grew up in the same trailer park where Annabell’s grandfather and great-grandmother had lived.
Gallegos and Xavier’s mother, Felicha Martinez, said the youngsters had become quite close throughout the academic year, passing notes in class and even exchanging “I love you” texts every night before bed.
“Me and Felicha would laugh, like, ‘How do y’all know about love?’” Gallegos recalled. “… She had this big old crush on him.”
When spring came around, the families began having occasional barbecues and get-togethers, where the children would play tag. Martinez eventually gave Annabell a necklace with Xavier’s picture on it; the child reportedly donned the piece proudly at all of his little league games.
On the morning of May 24, Annabell and Xavier were both recognized for their academic achievement during an awards ceremony. Martinez, who attended the event, said it was a particularly special day for Xavier, as it marked the first time he had ever made honor roll. She joked that Annabell’s smarts may have rubbed off on her son.
Martinez told the outlet she took a quick photo of the children right before they went back to class. Shortly after, an 18-year-old gunman gained access to their classroom and opened fire, killing Annabell, Xavier, 17 classmates, and two teachers.
Xavier’s funeral took place on Tuesday, and Annabell’s on Wednesday. Their families made the decision to bury the children right next to each other at Hillcrest Cemetery in Uvalde.
Their teacher, Arnulfo Reyes, was among those shot in the attack and is still recovering from his injuries. He reflected on Annabell and Xavier’s friendship during an interview with ABC News.
“He would make things for her, he would write notes for her,” Reyes said. “It brings a smile to your face just to think they really loved each other.”