Arnulfo Reyes, a teacher at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, shared his heartbreaking story of being in the classroom during the mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead last month. On Tuesday, he told Good Morning America that all 11 of his students were killed in front of him.
Reyes, who is undergoing multiple surgeries after suffering two gunshot wounds on May 24, detailed the horrific day, saying they were watching a movie in the classroom after attending an awards ceremony earlier that morning when they heard the gunfire. “‘Let’s go ahead and get under the table. Get under the table and act like you’re asleep,’” he recalled telling his students, repeating the protocol they had learned during previously training for mass shooting situations.
But Reyes said no amount of training could prepare him or his students for what was about to come.
“It all happened too fast,” he said. “Training, no training, all kinds of training — nothing gets you ready for this. We trained our kids to sit under the table, and that’s what I thought of, you know, at the time. But we set them up to be like ducks. You can give us all the training you want, but… it won’t ever change unless they change the laws.”
Reyes also blasted the police response on the day of the shooting, criticizing the decision made by Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo to fall back and wait for more firepower before going into the building. (Texas Department of Public Safety’s Steve Mcgraw previously said this decision was made under the belief that the gunman was contained. He has since admitted it was the “wrong” call.)
Amidst the chaos during the incident, Reyes said he could hear police outside and also heard a child calling for help in a nearby classroom. Once Border Police entered the classroom more than an hour later and finally killed the gunman, he recalled being asked to get up, but he was unable to do so, likely due to his injuries.
When asked about the police response, he said, “I get more angry because you have a bulletproof vest. I had nothing. I had nothing. You’re supposed to protect and serve. There is no excuse for their actions and I will never forgive them.”