Listen Live

UVALDE, Texas – Eva Mireles was shot and killed in her fourth-grade classroom, along with her co-teacher and 19 students by a gunman inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde.

>> Read more trending news

Mireles had been a teacher for 17 years, according to her school profile, the last five of those spent teaching alongside Irma Garcia, who was also a victim of Tuesday’s mass shooting.

Mireles died while trying to protect her students, Lydia Martinez Delgado, her aunt, told The New York Times. That news came as no surprise to Mireles’ cousin, Amber Ybarra, who told NBC News, “She is a hero.”

Mireles was married to Ruben Ruiz, a police officer with the Uvalde school district, The Washington Post reported. Ruiz had been involved in an active shooter drill at the Uvalde high school two months prior to the shooting, sharing photos at the time on his Facebook page that show him and his fellow officers posing as active shooters, The Independent reported.

Family remembered Mireles as fun and adventurous. “Her cooking was amazing,” Ybarra told NBC News. “Her laughter was contagious, and she’s going to be missed. She put her heart into everything that she did.”

In the classroom, Mireles was trained in bilingual and special education, Reuters reported. Audrey Garcia, whose child had previously been in Mireles’ class, mourned her loss on social media, saying, “She was a beautiful person & dedicated teacher.” Garcia told KSAT that her daughter was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, and Mireles went above and beyond to integrate her daughter into the class.

Mireles’ daughter, Adalynn Ruiz, a recent college graduate, posted a tribute to her mother on Facebook, saying, “I want to fight with you for the stupidest things and then laugh with you after. I want everything back. I want you to come back to me mom. I miss you more than words can explain. My beautiful mom, thank you for the funniest memories. Thank you for the best times of my life. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for being the best mom anyone could ask for. You are so known by many now and I’m so happy that people know your name and that beautiful face of yours and they know what a hero looks like.”