Uvalde faculty taking pictures, 1 12 months later: Households of victims, survivors recount what occurred that day
UVALDE, Texas — With summer season break simply two days away, Tuesday, Might 24, 2022, began out as a particular one for elementary faculty college students in Uvalde, Texas.
At Robb Elementary, the year-end award ceremony introduced collectively households and family members to rejoice scholar accomplishments that educational 12 months. Because the ceremony wound down, some college students have been taken residence by their mother and father, whereas others stayed in class.
Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, 10, acquired the Citizen’s Award from her fourth-grade instructor, Arnie Reyes.
“The Citizen’s Award was one which I hadn’t anticipated,” mentioned Kimberly Rubio, Lexi’s mother, who attended the ceremony. “However that is Lexi. She’s only a nice individual. And I am glad that her instructor and her friends knew this.”
Gloria and Javier Cazares have been additionally within the viewers celebrating their daughter Jacklyn “Jackie” Cazares. “This is without doubt one of the final photos that I took of Jackie, and she or he’s together with her pals,” Gloria Cazares mentioned as she confirmed ABC Information the photograph.
Javier Cazares remembered saying goodbye to Jackie after the ceremony. “I blew her a kiss not understanding that was going to be the final,” Javier Cazares mentioned.
Later that morning, at 11:33 a.m., an 18-year-old gunman entered the hallways of Robb Elementary carrying an AR-15-style rifle, and devastatingly modified the course of that day.
The bloodbath claimed the lives of 19 college students and two academics, making it the second-deadliest faculty taking pictures in the USA. Survivors and households in Uvalde shared what they skilled on Might 24 with ABC Information.
WATCH: ABC Information particular ‘Disaster of Command’ investigates Uvalde failings
Ten-year-old Caitlyne Gonzales remembered watching a film alongside her classmates and instructor Mercedes Salas in classroom 106 because the taking pictures started.
“We have been all comfortable with our footwear off after which all the pieces occurred,” Caitlyne Gonzales mentioned.
Mercedes Salas mentioned she heard the sound of gunfire getting nearer to her classroom. “The film was paused, so zero sounds have been popping out of my classroom,” Salas mentioned. “I went into locking down my classroom simply from the sounds.”
Trainer Elsa Avila was in classroom 109 when she heard somebody within the hallway alerting everybody to get of their rooms.
“I turned off the lights, and I advised the children, ‘Let’s transfer! Let’s transfer!” Avila mentioned. “They knew that was the sign that we’re in lockdown.”
Kimberly Rubio, who labored as a reporter on the native newspaper, went straight to work after attending the award ceremony that morning. She heard an alert on the police scanner at her workplace a few taking pictures close to Robb Elementary.
Kimberly Rubio instantly texted her husband Felix Rubio, then an Uvalde County Sheriff Deputy, who was off responsibility that day. Felix then turned on his radio to listen to what was occurring.
“I simply hear panic in everyone’s voices,” Felix Rubio recalled.
ABC Information obtained supplies from the Texas Division of Public Security investigative file, together with physique digital camera footage and images from inside Robb Elementary. That is the primary time many of those photos and particulars are being proven publicly.
In interviews with the FBI within the weeks following the taking pictures, college students Khloie Torres and Miah Cerrillo described what they remembered occurred in classroom 112.
“Proper when he got here in, everyone was screaming,” 10-year-old Khloie Torres mentioned within the FBI interview. “He mentioned, ‘Goodnight,’ and he began taking pictures everyone.”
“He tried to shoot at me,” 11-year-old Miah Cerillo mentioned within the FBI interview. “I, like, faked that he shot me, and I like, simply fell down.”
WATCH: Uvalde faculty taking pictures survivors inform their tales by means of images
Arnie Reyes was in classroom 111, which connects with classroom 112 through inside double doorways. He was within the room with eleven of his college students.
The gunman shot inside the 2 adjoining school rooms. Reyes advised his college students to “shut their eyes and get in place.”
Reyes was wounded by gunshots to his arm and again. “It was simply so, so quick,” mentioned Reyes, “and he shot my youngsters after that.
Trainer Elsa Avila mentioned she was shot within the stomach whereas making an attempt to guard her college students. Although she was two school rooms away from the gunman, a stray bullet had traveled by means of partitions and struck her. She texted her good friend Mercedes Salas.
“My palms have been shaking,” Salas recalled after studying the textual content message she acquired from Avila. “She mentioned, ‘Good friend, I am shot. I am bleeding, assist me.’
What Salas mentioned occurred subsequent, is one thing that has been seared in her reminiscence.
“Then we hear screaming. And it was the worst screams I’ve ever heard,” Salas mentioned. Following the screaming, Salas mentioned she heard gunshots – then silence. “And my mind is like “Oh my God, he simply killed them. So I heard them die.”
Exterior the varsity, mother and father had descended on the varsity campus in giant numbers after listening to concerning the taking pictures.
In physique digital camera footage, a Robb Elementary mother is heard saying, “No one understands what we’re going by means of, we’re mother and father! Our youngsters are in there!”
Miguel Cerillo, Miah’s dad, was among the many mother and father outdoors the varsity who have been rising impatient with legislation enforcement securing the perimeter. “I mentioned, ‘Effectively, what are y’all doing? Y’all are simply standing round,'” Cerrillo mentioned.
Again inside Robb Elementary, nearly half an hour had handed and the gunman was nonetheless within the constructing. Khloie Torres made a number of cellphone calls to 911 from her instructor’s cellphone in classroom 112. In audio launched from the 911 calls, she’s heard begging legislation enforcement by means of whispers to come back and rescue her and her classmates.
“Please hurry, there’s lots of lifeless our bodies,” Khloie mentioned on the 911 name. “I understand how to deal with these conditions. My dad taught me once I was somewhat woman. Ship assist for my academics. They’re nonetheless alive, however they’re shot.”
Miah, who additionally known as 911, and Khloie survived inside classroom 112, the place six college students and two academics, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, have been killed.
Uvalde College District Police Chief Pete Arredondo made the choice to evacuate the opposite school rooms first. He’s heard on police physique digital camera saying, “Time is on our aspect proper now. We’ll have youngsters in there, however we obtained to save lots of the lives of the opposite ones.”
Officers ultimately broke into classroom home windows to evacuate college students and academics. The shooter had but to be killed.
Households gathered on the native funeral residence, throughout the road from Robb Elementary, to reunite with their family members.
“We obtained up and began working to the funeral residence by climbing out of the window,” Caitlyne Gonzales mentioned.
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Elsa Avila described the glass from her classroom window being smashed by police and officers yelling on the youngsters to shortly exit.
“After the final scholar was out, they began to inform me, ‘Come on, ma’am. Come on. Let’s go.'”
One of many officers needed to leap into the classroom to assist Elsa, as she could not transfer from the ache of getting shot.
At 12:50 p.m., 77 minutes after the gunman entered Robb Elementary, legislation enforcement breached school rooms 111 and 112, killing the gunman.
“I lastly hear the banging of the chairs,” Reyes mentioned. “That is once I mentioned, ‘They’re right here. They’re coming in.'”
Felix Rubio watched as first responders rushed youngsters out of the varsity. He did not see his daughter Lexi. Some college students have been being transported in class buses to the native civic heart, so he instructed Kimberly to go there.
“My husband doesn’t panic,” Kimberly Rubio mentioned, “however he sounded terrified.”
On the civic heart, Kimberly and Felix Rubio waited for Lexi to reach off the bus. “I feel the longer we waited, the extra it turned clear that one thing was flawed,” Kimberly Rubio mentioned.
Households have been starting to be notified concerning the unthinkable information.
“They tell us our child is gone,” Felix Rubio mentioned.
Gloria and Javier Cazares, who have been on the faculty, headed to the hospital after listening to Jackie could be there, and have been notified hours later that she was not alive.
“I went to my knees and began speaking to her,” Javier Cazares mentioned. “We have been each apologizing for not having the ability to shield her.”
All eleven college students who have been in classroom 111 on the time of the taking pictures, together with Lexi and Jackie, have been killed. Trainer Arnie Reyes was the only real survivor.
“The laborious factor for me has been, as a instructor, as an schooling, you by no means take into consideration shedding a scholar,” Arnie Reyes mentioned. “To lose 11 at a time, at one single time, after which to lose your coworkers that labored proper beside you. After which different little youngsters that have been in that class that you simply knew. It is lots directly.”