A teacher injured in last month’s school shooting in Texas told first responders “cowardly” for standing outside her classroom while a gunman killed all 11 of his young students as they tried to play dead.
“You have a bulletproof vest, I didn’t have anything. You must protect and serve. There is no excuse for his actions and I will never forgive him. I will never forgive them,” Arnulfo Reyes said Tuesday in an interview with “Good Morning America” from a hospital where he is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds.
The teacher at Robb Elementary School said that his class was watching a movie after a student awards ceremony on May 24 at around 11:30 a.m. when he heard gunshots. He instructed the children to sit under a table like they had been trained to do, and asked them to “act like you’re sleeping.”
When he turned around, he said that the gunman was standing in his classroom and shot him several times.
“I told myself, I told my kids to act like they’re sleeping, so I’m going to act like I’m sleeping too,” he said after an exam that lasted about 80 minutes. Said about “And I prayed and prayed that I would not listen to any of my students.”
The gunman killed 19 students—including every child in Reyes’s class—and two teachers during the stampede.
The Texas Department of Public Security said several officers entered the school building minutes after the killer, but were gunned down and backed down. The director of public safety said the school police chief made the “wrong decision” to delay confronting the shooter, although more than a dozen officers stood outside the classroom while the slaughter continued.
After waiting for more than an hour in the hallway of the school building, an ad-hoc team of officers defied the standing order and stormed the classroom, killing the gunman.
Reyes said he heard a student in the classroom next door shouting for help when officers first entered the building and then left. Although the police apparently did not hear the girl, the gunman did. Reyes said he could hear him where the child is lying and rewiring his gun.
A fourth-grader who survived the shooting said in an earlier interview that his classmate was fatally shot after crying out for “help” when officers shouted at children to see what happened. They need help.
Crying, Reyes expressed regret that he couldn’t do more to save his students, but said they were helpless.
“We set them up to be like ducks,” he said.
In a message aimed at parents of students, he said: “I’m sorry. I tried my best. Please don’t get angry with me.”
He vowed to advocate for raising the age limit for purchasing an AR-style rifle like the rifle used in the assault. The killer legally bought two assault-style weapons a few days after his 18th birthday.
“I will go to the end of the world to make sure things turn out,” Reyes said.