A Texas mom took out her daughter to lunch only minutes before the shooter, Salvador Ramos, entered the Robb Elementary School and murdered 19 pupils and two teachers.
Like many children and their teachers, this mom is tormented with guilt.
Talking to The Post, Mia and her daughter Evalynn said that the girl was supposed to have a sleepover at her friend's house that evening. Her friend was Layla Salazar, who was killed by the shooter.
Mia, whose last name is not revealed to the public, told the publication:
"I can't eat, couldn't think because of the overwhelming amount of guilt."
The mom is struggling with survivor's guilt as well as questions of "what if:"
"I was able to take my daughter out, but what could've happened if we were there just five minutes later?"
She explained that "there is so much guilt right now."
The grief-stricken mother said:
"My heart goes out to all of the families who are suffering. … And now we have 11 funerals to attend."
Mia and her daughter lost four relatives who died at the hands of an 18-year-old shooter.
The massacre happened in Evalynn's classroom minutes after her mom pulled her daughter out of Robb Elementary School to go out to lunch.
The mom and daughter were celebrating, as the morning of the shooting was the same morning the school gave awarding certificates. Several parents who attended the ceremony, including Mia, chose to take their children home for the day.
Layla was among the highly honored students.
"When I was at the awards, I was so happy for her because she got five awards."
The girl picked up her things around 11:05, as Mia told the media:
"We ended up talking to the teacher, Mr. Reyes, and he let us know that the door would be unlocked for her to get her backpack. He said we were more than welcome to walk back there to grab Evalynn's belongings, sign her out and leave."
The police said that Ramos entered the school around 25 minutes later and started shooting. Mr. Reyes was injured, but he was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.
As Mia and Evalynn were eating, they heard a noise coming from the radio of a Border Patrol agent who was eating at a table next to them.
The mother said:
"All of a sudden, we kept hearing sirens. It's pretty common in our town, but these sirens seemed different."
"We kind of brushed it off at first, but a Border Patrol agent was sitting next to us, and his radio kept going off. He was listening at first, but he rushed out of there quickly. They told him he could pay later."
That's when the mother knew something terrible had happened. She received a message that the school was on lockdown.
Mia's mom continued:
"We started shaking because we were so worried about Layla and of course, the other children. But Evalynn, of course, was saying, 'Please! I hope my friend Layla is safe!"
Evalynn started sobbing loudly, and the two left the restaurant.
Evalynn said about her late best friend:
"When I heard about the active shooting, I was devastated. I couldn't take it. She was my only best friend that I had."
Layla asked Mia to go with them, but Mia did not allow her since her parents weren't notified.
Evalynn loved her friend dearly, and the two had annual sleepovers to celebrate the end of the school year:
"The thing I loved about Layla was that she was always there for me."
The girl is heartbroken:
"She would call me every day after school, and we would play a game called Roblox … we would stay up all night on the weekends calling and calling [each other]."
"She would never replace me with anyone else [inaudible], and she would never talk trash about me."