UVALDE, Texas — We're hearing from a law enforcement officer who responded to Thursday's shooting.
He's also a close family friend of Eva Mireles, who died trying to save her students.
On behalf of the Mireles-Ruiz family, KENS 5 sat down with a family spokesperson, Juan Maldonado, who is also a member of law enforcement. He knew when he responded to the school that his close friend who he considers a sister, Eva Mireles, was inside and in danger.
"If you didn't know Eva Mireles, you missed out."
Juan Maldonado just spent the weekend in Concan with the Mireles-Ruiz family.
"She loved to sing karaoke. The night was not done until she got to sing 'Diamonds', Shine Bright Like a Diamond. I was telling [her husband] Ruben, she's in Heaven and she's that diamond," said Maldonado.
Mireles taught in Uvalde ISD for nearly 17 years. She had a certification for special education. Her passion was teaching students of all abilities.
"She was currently a 4th grade teacher and got teacher of the year one time. This year she was also nominated Teacher of the Year. Which is a great recognition for her," said Maldonado. "It speaks volumes for the dedication she put into her job."
She loved helping her students succeed, and so proud when she witnessed them graduate.
"I can't say enough about Eva. She was like my sister. Her and I thought a lot alike. She was straightforward," said Maldonado. "If I was doing something wrong, she was going to tell me."
Mireles was also big on family. Her husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a local officer. Her daughter, Adalynn, has the same beautiful, beaming smile.
Maldonado says the teacher's one-of-a-kind spirit will be missed by all, but never forgotten.
"Her family definitely knows that she died a hero protecting her children in that classroom," he said. "She's a hero. She's a hero not only tot he family, but to this community."
Maldonado says on top of family and her students, Mireles loved her dog.
Mireles already had plans for what she wanted to do when she retired as well. Maldonado said she wanted to move to Arizona to go hiking. She was big on working out, and did crossfit just about every day after school.
Memorial Day, her family plans to do a special workout in her honor.
GoFundMe account created for the Mireles Family.