On May 24, the small town of Uvalde, Texas suffered a tragedy that shook the whole nation. An 18-year-old gunman walked into Robb Elementary School and killed 19 students and two teachers.
There have been multiple stories coming out about the tragedy ever since it took place. Reports say that there were many failures on the part of law enforcement, leaving multiple parents outside stranded while they heard gunshots being fired inside the building where their children were trapped. There are also reports that the FBI was told about the shooter's explicit threats to attack a school. Recently, one of the fourth grade teachers at Robb Elementary opened up to Good Morning America about his harrowing experience trying to protect his students.
Injured Uvalde Teacher Speaks Out about Losing 11 of His Students
Arnulfo Reyes, who has been teaching for 17 years, said May 24 started off like a "typical morning." The students were excited for the awards ceremony that took place that morning and some kids went home with their parents after it was over. There were 11 students in his classroom that day who stayed behind after the ceremony. He turned on a movie for them to watch.
As soon as he heard gunshots firing in the school, he instructed them to gather underneath the table and act like they were sleeping. This is the standard protocol that is taught to teachers if there is ever an active shooter in the building. This was the moment that he saw the killer standing there.
He entered Reyes' classroom through a connecting door from the adjacent classroom and opened fire immediately. Reyes was shot twice, and he fell to the ground and played dead just like he had instructed his students.
"And I prayed and prayed that I wouldn't hear none of my students talk," Reyes said.
Finally he heard police officers enter the school and take down the killer. "After that it was just bullets everywhere," he recalled. "And then I just remember Border Patrol saying, 'Get up. Get up.' And I couldn't get up."
Sadly, all 11 students in Reyes' room were killed that day. He begged the parents of these innocent children to forgive him.
"And to the parents I want to say: I'm sorry. I tried my best, what I was told to do," Reyes said. "Please don't be angry with me."
He also added that no training could have prepared them to respond to a situation like this one. "It all happened too fast. 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, at the time, that we set them up to be like sitting ducks," he said.
Reyes says he got "more angry" after everything was revealed on how officials handled that day. "You had a bulletproof vest," he said. "I had nothing."
Reyes is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries. He fought back tears as he shared his experience on that day. Nothing can be done to turn back time and save those children, but Reyes hopes and prays that they didn't die in vain and measures can be taken to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again in the future.