‘Told my kids to act like they’re asleep’: Uvalde teacher who survived shooting speaks

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 12:40 PM EDT
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(CNN) - A fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, says no amount of training could have prepared him for what happened May 24, when a gunman opened fire and killed 19 students and two teachers.

In an interview with ABC News, Arnulfo Reyes says he told his students to pretend they were asleep shortly after he came face to face with the gunman and was shot twice.

“I told my kids to act like they’re asleep, so I’m going to act like I’m asleep also,” he said. “And I prayed and prayed that I would not hear none of my students talk.”

Reyes said he believed he was going to die that day.

“One of the students from the next-door classroom was saying, ‘Officer, we’re in here! We’re in here!’ and then - but they had already left,” he said. “And then he (the shooter) got up from behind my desk and he walked over there and he shot her again.”

Reyes says one bullet went through his arm and lung and another hit his back, and he couldn’t move.

Then the shooter turned his gun on the students. Reyes played dead for 77 minutes until the Border Patrol team took the suspect down.

The teacher apologized to the parents of the 11 children in his class.

“I’m sorry. I tried my best from what I was told to do; please don’t be angry with me,” he said.

Reyes says he’s angry at police though, and he felt abandoned that day.

The timeline from officials shows officers responded within minutes of the suspect entering the classroom.

But officers stayed in a hallway to wait for backup when he started shooting, even as kids called 911 and begged for help.

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