Arnulfo Reyes cannot forgive law enforcement for taking more than an hour to stop a gunman who killed 11 fourth-graders in his Texas classroom and 10 other people in the next room, he said. ABC†
Reyes, a teacher who was shot twice on May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalderecalled the horror unfolding in his room and an adjacent room, and also spoke in interviews aired Monday and Tuesday about his mounting anger at law enforcement responders.
“After all, I get angrier because … I had nothing” for protection, like a bulletproof vest, Reyes told ABC’s Amy Robach in a segment that aired Tuesday on Good morning America†
“You are supposed to protect and serve. … There is no excuse for their actions. And I will never forgive them,” said the reading and English/language teacher of the fourth grade in some of his first public comments since the slaughter.
The gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, stormed into Reyes’ classroom and an adjacent class and killed 19 fourth-graders and two teachers, authorities said. He was in the classrooms for over an hour before being shot and killed by a Border Patrol tactical response team, a… timeline provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows.
Officers had responded within minutes of the gunman entering the classroom, but were repelled by the gunman’s fire and then stationed in a hallway to call for reinforcements and equipment such as body armor, even as children inside called 911 pleading for police help, the timeline indicates .
Teacher told students to pretend you are sleeping
Reyes told terrifying stories about what happened in the two classrooms.
Students had attended a year-end ceremony earlier that day, and some went home afterwards. For others who stayed in school, Reyes starred in a movie, he told ABC, which also aired parts of his interview Monday. World news tonight with David Muir†
Then the students heard gunshots – and asked him what was going on.
“And I said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but let’s go ahead and get under the table. Sit under the table and pretend you’re asleep,’” Reyes recalled to ABC.
“While they did, and I gathered them under the table and told them to pretend they were going to sleep, it was about time I turned around and saw him standing there.”
the shooter opened fire and hit Reyes; one bullet went through his arm and lung, and another hit his back, ABC reported.
Reyes was unable to move after being shot, he said, and the gunman then aimed his gun at the students.
Officers could be heard outside the classroom and a child in another classroom begged police to help, Reyes said. But Reyes thinks by then the officers had retreated to a hallway, he told ABC.
“One of the students in the next classroom said, ‘Officer, we’re here. We’re here,’” he said. “But they had already left.”
“I said to myself, ‘I told my kids to act like they’re sleeping, so I’m going to pretend I’m sleeping too,’” he recalls.
When the Border Patrol unit finally came in, “it was just bullets everywhere,” he told ABC.
“And then I remember Border Patrol saying, ‘Get up, get up.’ And I couldn’t get up,” Reyes said.
Reyes was in room 111 and all the students in the class at the time of the shooting were killed, he told the network. A student who survived the shooting said he had been in room 111. according to The Texas Tribune† It was not immediately clear how to reconcile the two statements.
‘My apologies. I tried my best’
Reyes had a message for the students’ parents.
“I’m sorry. I did my best from what I was told. Please don’t be mad at me,” he told ABC through tears.
Reyes has been teaching for 17 years, according to ABC. At least seven of those years were with the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, according to his neighborhood biography page†
No training could have prepared him or the students for the carnage they encountered, he said.
“It all happened too fast. Training, no training, all kinds of training — nothing prepares you for this,” he said.
“We trained our kids to sit under the table, and that’s what I thought… at the time, but we set them up to be like ducks. …
“You can give us all the training you want, but…laws have to change,” he said. “It will never change unless they change the laws.”
Reyes wants the legal age to buy a gun raised, ABC reported. The US Senate has been discussing such a shift since the Uvalde attack.
“No one in this world deserves this kind of pain. … No one deserves this,” he told ABC. “I’m going to the end of the world to make things change.”