“After everything, I get more angry because … I had nothing” for protection, such as a bulletproof vest, Reyes told ABC’s Amy Robach in a segment broadcast Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”
Officers had responded within minutes of the shooter entering the classroom but were repelled by the gunman’s fire and then stationed in a hallway to call for reinforcements and equipment such as body armor, even as children inside called 911 and begged for police help, the timeline indicates .
Teacher told students to ‘act like you’re asleep’
Reyes told terrifying accounts of what happened inside the two classrooms.
Students earlier that day had attended an end-of-year ceremony, and went some home afterward. For others who stayed at school, Reyes was playing a movie, he told ABC, which also aired parts of his interview Monday on “World News Tonight with David Muir.”
Then the students heard gunshots — and asked him what was 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 recalled to ABC.
“As they were doing that, and I was gathering them under the table and told them to act like they’re going to sleep, is about the time when I turned around and saw him standing there.”
Reyes couldn’t move after being shot, he said, and the shooter then turned his gun on the students.
Officers could be heard outside the classroom, and a child in another classroom pleaded for police to help, Reyes said. But Reyes thinks by that time, officers had retired down a hallway, he told ABC.
“One of the students from the next-door classroom was saying, ‘Officer, we’re in here. We’re in here,’ ” he said. “But they had already left.”
“I told myself, ‘I told my kids to act like they’re asleep, so I’m going to act like I’m asleep too,’ ” he recalled.
When the Border Patrol unit eventually came inside, “it was just bullets everywhere,” he told ABC.
“And then I just remember Border Patrol saying, ‘Get up, get up.’ And I couldn’t get up,” Reyes said.
‘I’m sorry. I tried my best’
Reyes had a message for the students’ parents.
“I’m sorry. I tried my best from what I was told to do. Please don’t be angry with me,” he told ABC through tears.
No training could have prepared him or the students for the carnage they encountered, he said.
“It all happened too fast. Training, no training, all kinds of training — nothing gets you ready for this,” he said.
“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. …
“You can give us all the training you want, but … laws have to change,” he said. “It won’t ever change unless they change the laws.”
“Nobody in this world deserves this kind of pain. … Nobody deserves this,” he told ABC. “I will go to the end of the world to make sure things get changed.”
CNN’s Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.