to people standing outside Uvalde Elementary School

‘Cowards’: Teacher who survived Uvalde shooting slams police response

As the days continue past the tragic Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, we are hearing more and more accounts from the people that experienced it. Recently, the teacher in the second classroom, where every child inside was killed, spoke out against how the police handled the situation. He has said that the police all acted as cowards that day, costing the lives of children and teachers.

Robb Elementary School Shooting Survivor Calls Uvalde Police Cowards

The day of the Uvalde, Texas shooting at Robb Elementary school started out looking quite bright for Arnulfo Reyes and his third/fourth-grade class. Having already completed their final tests, it was to be a day of fun, games, and awards. After some games and such outside in the morning, part of his class went home. Those who couldn’t go home, stayed for the rest of the day – 11 students, to be exact. They walked back to their classroom to watch the rest of a movie they had previously started, the animated version of The Addams Family. (1)

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Everything Changed In An Instant

As we know, everything changed at around 11:30 am when Reyes heard a loud bang. He didn’t know exactly what the sound was but told the children to get under their desks as per the protocol. He told them to pretend they were asleep. (2)

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“The kids were yelling, ‘What’s going on, Mr. Reyes?'” he said. “[The students] were going under the table, and I was trying to get them to do that as fast as I could,” Reyes recalled. “When I turned around, I just saw him.”

The shooter had entered his classroom through an adjoining door from room 112, where he had already shot and killed two teachers and several students. For the next 77 minutes, carnage ensued. The shooter immediately shot Reyes, first in the arm, which brought him to the ground. He then began shooting Reyes’ students. Reyes said he also pretended to be dead, as he instructed his kids.

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“I prayed that I wouldn’t hear none of my students talk,” he said. “And I didn’t hear talk for a while. But then, later on, he did shoot again. So, if he didn’t get them the first time, he got them the second time.”

Upon his return into Reyes’ classroom, the shooter shot Reyes a second time, this time through the back which punctured his lung. He was certain he was going to die.

Read: Texas Shooter Sent Messages to L.A. Girl Before Onslaught, ‘Got a Secret’

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“Complete Cowards”

Arnulfo Reyes teacher at Robb Elementary in  Uvalde, Texas
Arnulfo Reyes. Image Credit: ABC News

In the aftermath of the shooting, Reyes has undergone five surgeries, with still more to come. What’s more devastating to him is the loss of his students. When speaking to his students’ parents, he apologized. He is devastated that he couldn’t do more to protect them. What’s more, he is angry with the police. Reyes said he heard officers approach the classroom three times, but they never entered.

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“One of the students from the next-door classroom was saying, ‘Officer, we’re in here. We’re in here’…But the [police] had already left,” he remembered. “And then [the gunman] got up from behind my desk and he walked over there, and he shot again.”

Finally, at 12:50 pm, officers entered the classrooms. Reyes describes it as bullets everywhere as they shot at the shooter, eventually killing him. By the time they entered, however, it was too late. All of Reyes students were already dead.

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“They’re cowards,” he said.. “They sit there and did nothing for our community. They took a long time to go in… I will never forgive them.”

Reyes tearfully talks about how he and the children could not understand why the police took so long to enter the classrooms where the shooter was. The police, he said, had bullet-proof vests. Reyes did not, and neither did his students.

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System Failure

Reyes says that despite all of their active shooter drills, it wasn’t enough. First of all, he said that they were supposed to receive a message advising them of the intruder. They did not. His door’s latch was broken, which he says he had brought up to the principal several times. Finally, he said it all happened so fast, none of it really mattered.

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“It all happened too fast. Training, no training, all kinds of training — nothing gets you ready for this,” he said. “We trained our kids to sit under the table and that’s what I thought of at the time. But we set them up to be like ducks.”

A Need For Change

Reyes says the key here in preventing this from ever happening again is not more training, it is a system overhaul. He says it is imperative that the gun laws in the United States change. Reyes says it is far too easy to become a gun owner in America, meaning that guns are falling into the wrong hands. 

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“If you want to buy a gun, you want to own a gun, that’s fine,” he said. “But the age limit has to change. And I think that they need to do more background checks on it. Things just have to change. It must change.”

Reyes has said that he will likely never step foot in a classroom again. He won’t, however, stop fighting for change. He says that he will not allow his students to have lost their lives for nothing.

Keep Reading: 11-year-old smeared friend’s blood on herself in order to survive massacre

Sources

  1. ‘Cowards’: Teacher who survived Uvalde shooting slams police response.” Good Morning America. Miles Cohen & Lucien Bruggeman.
  2. ‘Act like you’re asleep’: Wounded Uvalde teacher recounts chilling moment he 1st saw gunman.” ABC News. Miles Cohen, Lucien Bruggeman, and Julia Jacobo. June 6, 2022.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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