A pair of green Converse shoes, drawings and personal photos are just some of the artifacts left over from the victims of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey, discussed some of those items during a sometimes emotional White House press conference Tuesday.
Matthew McConaughey was in Washington, DC, to call on lawmakers to address gun control and share details of the 21 victims who died in the shooting.
One of those victims was 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez. Lover of animals and the environment, she dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. She often wore a pair of high-top green Converse shoes (her favorite color) with a heart drawn in marker on her right toes.
Camila Alves McConaughey showed off a pair of green Converse shoes during her husband’s press conference.
“It was the same green Converse on his feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify him after the shooting,” said Matthew McConaughey, pointing to his wife.
It is unclear if the green sneakers were the same ones worn by Maite or if they were similar shoes of the same brand and style.
Ana Rodriguez, Maite’s mother, shared on Facebook that her daughter’s dream was to attend Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to study marine biology. The school has since created a scholarship in memory of Maite that will go to a student from Uvalde who is pursuing a degree in marine biology.
Her mother wrote in a tribute to her daughter: “She was sweet, charismatic, loving, caring, loyal, free, ambitious, funny, silly, goal driven and above all my best friend!”
Matthew McConaughey and his wife traveled to Uvalde shortly after hearing about the attack at Robb Elementary School on May 24, he said. They spent a week in town meeting with the families of the 21 gunshot victims.
There he learned about the hobbies and dreams of the children who were killed.
He spoke to the family of Alithia Ramirez, also 10, who loved to draw and paint. Her dream was to go to art school in Paris and one day share her art with the world. He held a self-portrait that the girl had createdof herself sketching as a friend who was hit and killed by a car last year watched her from above.
The McConaugheys also spoke with cosmetologists specializing in mortuary makeup who treated the bodies of students and teachers at Uvalde.
The fact that Maite was identified primarily by her sneakers and other students through DNA testing is due to the sheer violence inflicted by the AR-15 style rifle used in the mass shooting.
McConaughey said: “They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to unusually large exit wounds from an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies are so mutilated that only a DNA test[s] and green Converse might identify them.”
As earlier reports have indicated, the AR-15 rifle was a weapon designed for war and to inflict maximum damage.