A hero teacher who was shot three times in the Texas elementary school massacre has branded cops ‘cowards’ for taking so long to raid the building.
Arnulfo Reyes said he will ‘never forgive’ the police for ‘sitting there and doing nothing for our community’ during the deadly attack.
During an emotional interview, he also revealed the only reason he survived was because he played dead for over an hour while the gunman was on the loose.
Reyes bore witness to the horror as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos gunned down 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24.
All 11 of the pupils in his class in Room 111 were murdered by the twisted killer, who was finally later shot dead by cops after the rampage.
It comes amid a spate of mass shootings across the US in recent weeks, with the nation reeling from horrific killings in Buffalo, Tulsa, Philadelphia and California.
The continued violence has stiffened calls from much of the Left and some on the Right for tighter gun laws to be enforced nationally.
Fourth-grade teacher Arnulfo Reyes (pictured speaking to ABC News) was wounded in the shooting on May 24, which saw 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos kill all 11 of his students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas
All 11 of Reyes’ students at Robb Elementary school were killed in the school massacre on May 24
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Reyes, who is a fourth-grade teacher, gave a heartbreaking interview from his hospital bed as he recovered from gunshot wounds to the arm, lung and back.
He told : ‘I feel so bad for the parents because they lost a child.But they lost one child. I lost 11 that day, all at one time.’
Reyes also revealed he was watching the animated The Addams Family movie with his students when he heard the first shots ringing out through the school.
He said: ‘The kids started asking out loud, ‘Mr.Reyes, what is going on,’ and I said ‘I don’t know what’s going on but let’s go ahead and get under the table… get under the table and act like you’re asleep.’
He explained that under the school’s protocols for school shootings, they train the students to sit under their desks as he described failures in the school’s emergency protocols.
Salvador Ramos, 18, killed 19 students and two teachers – and wounded 17 others – at Robb Elementary School in the Texas city during the May 24 rampage
‘No training would ever prepare anybody for this,’ he said.’It all happened too fast. Training, no training, all kinds of training – nothing gets you ready for this.
‘We trained our kids to sot under the table and that’s what I thought of at the time,’ Reyes continues. ‘But we set them up to be like ducks.’
The 17-year veteran teacher said as he went to huddle under a table with the children, he turned around to see Ramos standing there – who then let off a burst of fire into the classroom, striking Reyes three times before he went on to shoot all of his students as cops stood back for more than an hour.
‘They’re cowards,’ Reyes said of the officers on the scene.’They sit there and did nothing for our community. They took a long time to go in.
‘I will never forgive them.’
His account offered some of the most vivid details that have been revealed so far of the horrific shooting, as he described multiple encounters with Ramos.
Reyes was with his students in Room 111, one of the adjoining classrooms where the teenage shooter carried out the massacre.
The teacher said after he was injured and incapacitated, Ramos turned his AR-15 style rifle on his young students, most of them in their third and fourth grades.
He told ABC that while seriously injured, he followed his own advice and decided to pretend to be unconscious on the ground, as Ramos continued to fire – shooting him again, this time piercing his back and lung.
While laying on the ground severely injured, the teacher said he heard Ramos going from classroom to classroom, opening fire and continuing his spree.
During that time he said he heard police officers outside his classroom, and a student in the classroom next door – room 112 – calling out for help.
However, he said he thinks the police had left by that time, moving on down the corridor and so he didn’t hear the cries for help, while Ramos hid behind Reyes’ desk.
‘One of the students from the next-door classroom was saying, ‘Officer, we’re in here.We’re in here.’ But they had already left,’ Reyes said.
After that, Reyes said the shooter then got up from behind his desk and went back into room 112, and continued his rampage.
Reyes slammed the police response to the school shooting at Robb Elementary School, where officers stayed back for more than an hour
Outside, parents begged police to get involved.A woman is seen here crying as she left the Uvalde Civic Center on May 24
Officers did not respond to the scene for more than an hour after Uvalde Schools Police Chief Pete Arrendondo changed the status from an active shooter to a barricaded suspect situation
Reyes said he has previously raised concerns about the back door near his classroom not locking during previous active shooter trainings
Reyes previously posted about how he is healing, and thanked everyone for their support
Officers eventually returned to Reyes’ classroom for a second time, where he said he heard them pleading with Ramos to come out.They told him they just wanted to speak with him, and that they were not going to hurt him, the teacher told ABC.
There was silence, he said, before cops finally breached the door and shot Ramos dead. By then, Reyes’ 11 students had already been killed.
Reyes also described in his interview how the school failed to properly prepare for such a shooting, despite holding active shooter drills – including one just weeks before Ramos opened fire.
During those trainings, he said he noticed the outside door nearest his classroom would not lock.
‘When that would happen, I would tell my principal, ‘Hey, I’m going to get in trouble again, they’re going to come and tell you that I left my door unlocked, which I didn’t.’ ‘But the latch was stuck,’ Reyes said.
Now, as he recovers from his gunshot wounds at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, Reyes is calling for more gun control, telling ABC News: ‘If you want to buy a gun, you want to own a gun, that’s fine.
‘But the age limit has to change,’ he said. ‘And I think they need to do more background checks on it. Things just have to change,’ Reyes said. ‘It must change.’
Reyes posted a public message on social media last week thanking friends for their prayers and love.
‘I have long journey ahead, but I know I’ll get through it.My thoughts and prayers are with the families who continue to grieve their loved ones,’ said Reyes, who runs a small plant and gift store when not teaching.
One student who survived the shooting, 10-year-old Khloie Torres, told a 911 dispatcher at 12:10 pm – after the shooting had started – ‘There is a lot of bodies.’
Khloie added that one of her teachers had been shot but was still alive and techinfluential begged for help from Room 112.
‘I don’t want to die, my teacher is dead, my teacher is dead, please send help, send help for my teacher, she is shot but still alive,’ the desperate girl pleaded.
The fourth-grader did not specify if it was Irma Garcia or Eva Mireles- the two teachers shot and killed- who was injured.
The 10-year-old stayed on the line for about 17 minutes- and 11 minutes into the call, the sound of gunfire could be heard in the background.
Mourners visit a memorial at Robb Elementary School created to honor the victims killed in the recent school shooting, Friday, June 3, 2022, in Uvalde
Wooden crosses are placed at a memorial dedicated to the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on June 3, 2022 in Uvalde
In this aerial image taken with a drone, , people gather around a memorial to the victims of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in downtown Uvalde, at dawn on May 29
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Khloie said her fourth grade classroom in Room 112 were watching a movie when her teacher, Irma Garcia, told the class to go into lockdown- turning off the movie and rushing to lock the classroom door, the Times reported.
But Garcia struggled to find the keys to the door and by the time she found the right key 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was outside the door.
‘He grabbed the door, and he opened it,’ Khloie said.
As Khloie and her classmates hid under tables she said she heard Ramos say ‘you’ll die’ and fire his gun while Garcia tried to protect her students.
The 10-year-old said she also heard Ramos say ‘good night’ before shooting at her classmates.
When one student who was struck shouted out ‘I’m shot’ he caught Ramos’s attention, who returned to the wounded child and shot them dead, Khloie told the Times.
As Ramos moved between the adjoining classroom where teacher Eva Mireles was, Khloie said she took the chance to call out quietly: ‘Is anybody OK?Is anybody hurt?’ to which one classmate responded: ‘Yeah’
‘Just be quiet, so he doesn’t come back in here,’ Khloie said she replied.
She said one of her other classmates asked for help getting Ms.Garcia’s body off her.
The 10-year-old’s call came 37 minutes after Ramos entered the campus and an entire 40 minutes before authorities swooped in and shot and killed the gunman.
Her 911 call is another piece of evidence that proves if police had acted more swiftly lives could have been saved.
Tensions are growing between the state and local authorities over how police handled the shooting and communicated what happened to the public, while calls are growing for gun control legislation to be introduced.