Teacher survived Texas school shooting by playing dead

A teacher who was shot by the deranged gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school said he played dead for over an hour in order to survive the massacre.

Arnulfo Reyes spoke about the harrowing ordeal in an interview with ABC News and offered one of the more detailed accounts of the horror inside Robb Elementary School on May 24 that ended with 11 of his students dead.

Reyes told the network that his class was watching a movie when 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos barged inside their room.

“The kids started asking out loud, ‘Mr. Reyes, what is going on,’ and I said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on but let’s go ahead and get under the table … get under the table and act like you’re asleep,’” Reyes said in the interview .

As Reyes and the children were huddling under the table, the 17-year veteran teacher said he turned around and saw Ramos open fire in the classroom.

One bullet hit Reyes’ arm and his lung. The second bullet hit his back.

Arnulf Reyes staff photo.
Reyes survived the shooting but was hit in the arm and lung by one bullet, and in his back by a second bullet.
Uvalde CISD

“One of the students from the next-door classroom was saying, ‘Officer, we’re in here. We’re in here,’” but they had already left,” Reyes said.

Reyes said he played dead for an hour and 17 minutes but could hear Ramos going from his classroom to the adjoining classroom to continue his rampage.

Law enforcement officers came back a second time and finally breached the door of the Ramos’ classroom before fatally shooting the gunman.

By then, Reyes’ 11 students were dead.

A young girl being comforted by a relative at the memorial at Robb Elementary School, setup in memory of the victims of the mass shooting that occurred there.. Uvalde, Texas, Monday, June 6, 2022.
Eleven of Reyes students were killed in the attack, along with eight others in the school and two teachers.
(Kevin C. Downs for The New York

Reyes is currently recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Responding law enforcement in Uvalde has faced heavy scrutiny over their delayed response in taking down the shooter.

The school district chief of police Pete Arredondo wasn’t carrying a radio that day and also treated the incident as a suspect barricade situation as opposed to an active shooter situation.


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