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‘This community is broken’ | Uvalde pastor leads mourners in prayer after losing his niece in Robb Elementary shooting

Pastor Juan Martinez of Trinity Fellowship Church in Uvalde is the uncle of teacher Eva Mireles, who was killed protecting her students.

UVALDE, Texas — Uvalde's downtown plaza turned into the city's center for prayer, song and healing.

Flowers at the memorial surrounding the fountain are stacked higher by the day.

Wednesday night, a vigil filled the air with music and worship.

Pastor Juan Martinez of Trinity Fellowship Church in Uvalde helped lead the moments of prayer.

"You can know the Bible left and right, but when it comes to a situation like this, you're speechless," he explained. "I just picked up in my heart that this community is broken."

People brought their lawn chairs and surrounded the pastor and singers, lifting arms and their voices in praise.

Martinez himself lost a loved one in the shooting. His niece, teacher Eva Mireles, died last Tuesday protecting students in her classroom at Robb Elementary.

"For her to do what she did, to give up her life... As the Bible said, we are to give up our life for a loved one. She stood in front of her children to see what she could do to protect her children, and her life was ended," he explained.

Martinez says healing in this community will take time, but hosting a vigil like this in the center of his city is a good start.

"There's been a piece of their heart that's been yanked out," he said. "I feel there's no words we can say that can cure that wound, but I feel a night of praise and worship is what the answer is to heal the brokenhearted."

As the faithful prayed, they were met with a little bit of love.

The Pathfinders group from cities across Texas gifted people flowers and a smile.

"Little things can make a big difference. Like hugs or a smile or just a wave," said Nevaeh Morales, who greeted worshippers with roses at the vigil. "We just want them to know that you're not alone. We felt the pain and we want to be there for you."

Credit: KENS 5

Martinez says he's thankful for everyone who's traveled to Uvalde to show their support. He says he always knew that this type of love existed in Texas and it's a wonderful feeling to see it come to the surface in full force.

"I just want to hug everybody here and make sure they know that they're gonna be OK," said Morales. "Slowly but surely, they're gonna be OK." 

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