When Angel Garza heard about the killing spree at his stepdaughter’s school on Tuesday, he immediately rushed to the elementary school. There, the first responders learned of the death of the 10-year-old.

On Tuesday, an 18-year-old man opened fire at a Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. When Angel Garza hears about it, he rushes to the elementary school that his 10-year-old daughter attends. Once there, police officers had started to evacuate the shocked children from the classrooms.

“One little girl was covered in blood from head to toe. I thought she was hurt and asked her what was going on. She said she was fine – she was hysterical and said they shot her best friend, that they killed her best friend and that she wouldn’t breathe anymore,” Garza told CNN on Wednesday.

“I asked the little girl her name, and… she said Amerie,” he says, and weeps.

Amerie was shot trying to dial 911

The girl’s best friend is 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza – Angel Garza’s stepdaughter. Amerie had turned ten about two weeks before the killing spree. Her family celebrated her birthday with dinner and gave her her first cell phone.

Amerie’s classmates tell Garza that they tried to use the phone to call 911 during the attack.

“She’s wanted a cell phone for so long and we finally got it for her. She was about to call the police and I guess he just shot her,” says Garza.

10 year old was afraid of strangers

“How can you look at this girl and just shoot her?” asks CNN, hugging a photo of his stepdaughter. “Oh, my baby. How can you shoot my baby?”

Garza describes Amerie as a sweet, creative kid who always listened to her parents and never got into trouble at school. At the same time, she was very fearful of strangers. “That was literally her biggest fear,” Garza said.

“Take care of your little brother for me.”

Amerie’s 3-year-old brother has been asking his parents about his big sister ever since. “We told him that his sister is with God now. And that she will no longer be with us,” says Garza. “He just cried…he’s 3 years old. It’s very emotional for him to process.”

On Facebook, Ganza shared a message to his late daughter: “My little love is flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your families. Tell them you love them,” he wrote. “I love you Amerie Jo. Take care of your little brother for me.”

In addition to Amerie, the shooter shot 18 other children and two teachers in the rampage before he himself was shot dead by the police.

What: CNN