A Robb Elementary school teacher who lost 11 of his students in the Uvalde, Texas shooting is now saying that he will “never forgive” law enforcement for their response that day, as there is “no excuse for their actions.”
Arnulfo Reyes, who is recovering in a hospital after suffering gunshot wounds in the arm, lung and back, made the remark during an interview that aired Tuesday with ABC News.
“After everything, I get more angry because you have a bulletproof vest, I have nothing,” he said about police, who have been facing blistering criticism for not confronting 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos sooner.
“You are supposed to protect and serve. There is no excuse for their actions,” Reyes added. “And will I never forgive them. I will never forgive them.”
Reyes told ABC News that May 24 began with an awards ceremony for children at the school and some went home after the event. The station reports that 11 were watching a movie in his classroom afterward when gunshots rang out.
“They kids start asking out loud, ‘Mr. Reyes, what is going on’? And I said ‘I don’t know what is going on, but lets go ahead and get under the table and act like you are asleep,” he said. “As they were doing that and I was gathering them under the table… is about the time when I turned around and saw him standing there.”
Reyes said as the shooting unfolded, he thought he was going to die and that he heard police nearby.
He then later heard police come back and tell Ramos through a door that they wanted him to come out and talk and that they don’t want to hurt anybody. Yet more silence reportedly followed.
Eventually, responding officers stormed the classroom that Ramos was inside and killed him in a gun battle.
“I just remember Border Patrol saying ‘get up, get up!’ and I couldn’t get up,” Reyes said after Ramos was taken out.
“I lost 11 that day… I’m sorry, I tried my best with what I was told to do,” Reyes told ABC News while choking up and fighting back tears. “Please don’t be angry with me.”
Reyes, who has taught for 17 years, said no training could have prepared staff for the Uvalde school shooting.
“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, but we set them up to be like ducks,” he told ABC News. “You can give us all the training you want but gun laws have to change. It won’t never change unless they change the laws.”
Reyes now says it’s his mission to “not let these children and my co-workers die in vain.
“I will go anywhere to the end of the world to not let my students die in vain. They didn’t deserve this, nobody in this world deserves this kind of pain,” he said. “I will go to the end of the world to make sure things get changed.”