Fourth-grade Robb Elementary school teacher Arnulfo Reyes says he was "destroyed" inside after a gunman spent 77 minutes killing 19 students – including 11 in Reyes' classroom, and two teachers.
Reyes, who sustained multiple gunshot wounds, called local police "cowards" for waiting outside and restraining parents while 18-year-old Salvador Ramos committed mass murder.
Reyes said that before Ramos entered his classroom, he immediately "knew something was wrong" upon hearing two shots ring out. He told his students, "Get under the table and act like you're asleep," before the gunman burst in and started firing.
Reyes told the 10 and 11-year-olds to keep quiet.
"I prayed that I wouldn't hear none of my students talk," he said, adding "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."
The teacher then pretended to be unconscious himself. "And that was the second time he got me," he said. "Just to make sure that I was dead."
"I had no concept of time," Reyes continued. "When things go bad, it seems like eternity. The only thing that I can say is I felt like my blood was like an hourglass."
Reyes has had five surgeries and had his blood replaced twice since the shooting.
According to Reyes, he heard officers in the hallway approach his classroom three times, but they failed to enter. In one instance, he said a student was calling for the police in the next classroom over to no avail.
"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 said. “And then [the gunman] got up from behind my desk and he walked over there, and he shot again."
Unbeknownst to Reyes, parents and onlookers eventually gathered outside of the school, encouraging officers to enter the building. It wasn't until 12:50 p.m. when a tactical unit finally breached the classroom door and killed the gunman.
"After that it was just bullets everywhere," he said. "And then I just remember Border Patrol saying, 'Get up, get out,' and I couldn't get up." –ABC News
"They're cowards," said Reyes of the police, who took over an hour to subdue the attacker. "They sit there and did nothing for our community. They took a long time to go in… I will never forgive them."
ABC notes that both law enforcement and state officials have changed their story multiple times – providing conflicting information, while at one point admitting that the on-scene commanding officer (who was recently sworn in on the city council), made the "wrong decision" to wait so long.
Reyes noted that despite an active shooter drill at Robb Elementary just weeks before the shooting, "There was no announcement. I did not receive any messages on my phone — sometimes we do get a Raptor system," adding "but I didn't get anything, and I didn't hear anything."
Reyes also described complaints he said he had made about his door, which is meant to remain shut and locked while class is in session. At prior security checks, Reyes said he noticed that his door would not latch — an issue he said he raised with the school's principal.
"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,'" he said. "But the latch was stuck. So, it was just an easy fix."
Even with the failures in plan implementation, Reyes said the outcome felt inevitable: "No training would ever prepare anybody for this." -ABC
"It all happened too fast. Training, no training, all kinds of training — nothing gets you ready for this," Reyes continued. "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."