Uvalde school massacre: ‘So much blood’: Medics tell what they saw and did at Robb Elementary


Chilling particulars of the chaotic and bloody aftermath of the Uvalde faculty bloodbath present how emergency medics desperately handled a number of victims wherever they might and with no matter tools that they had, in line with never-before-heard interviews.

Some got here from off-duty or far-off to again up their colleagues despatched to Robb Elementary College, the place school rooms had change into kill zones however there have been nonetheless lives to be saved.

There was the state trooper with emergency medical certification who at all times carried 5 chest seals with him, by no means imagining he would ever want them all of sudden; the native EMT who crouched behind a wall as gunshots rang out and was quickly treating three youngsters on the identical time; and her off-duty colleague who discovered herself caring for her son’s classmates, not understanding if her personal boy was alive.

Amanda Shoemake was on the primary Uvalde EMS ambulance to reach on the faculty final Might 24, she instructed an investigator from the Texas Division of Public Security. However with regulation enforcement officers ready for 77 minutes to problem the shooter, she frolicked attempting to direct site visitors to keep up a lane for ambulances to get by as soon as victims began popping out, she stated, in line with investigation data obtained by CNN.

“We had been simply ready for what felt like some time. After which anyone … got here and so they had been like, ‘OK, we’d like EMS now,’” she stated within the interview, a part of the DPS investigation into the failed response to the college capturing, through which 19 youngsters and two lecturers had been killed. No less than one instructor and two youngsters had been alive when officers lastly stormed the lecture rooms, however they died later.

As Shoemake and colleagues reached the college constructing, they had been instructed the shooter had not but been discovered and could possibly be within the ceiling, she recounted, saying how they sheltered behind a brick wall because the shooter was confronted.

“We simply squatted down there and waited there till the capturing stopped,” she stated. “After which after a while they introduced out the primary child that was an apparent DOA.”

DPS trooper Zach Springer was one of many a whole bunch of regulation enforcement officers from throughout southwest Texas who responded to Robb when alerts went out for reinforcements. He had change into licensed as an EMT just a few months earlier, he instructed the Texas Ranger who interviewed him.

“I made a acutely aware choice to not carry my rifle,” he stated he thought as he drove up. “I knew there have been so many individuals up there, they’re not going to want rifles, they’re going to want med gear.”

Springer entered the college and began getting a triage space prepared on the finish of the hallway the place armed officers from the college power, native police division, sheriff’s workplace, state police and federal companies had been lined up. Whereas commanders like then faculty police chief Pete Arredondo, then appearing metropolis police chief Mariano Pargas and Sheriff Ruben Nolasco have given numerous statements about whether or not they knew youngsters had been harm and wanted rescue, medics from many companies ready for victims.

“I arrange as finest I may,” he stated. “I put tourniquets, gauze, Israeli bandages, compression bandages, hemostatic gauze. I used to be like, ‘I received every part, I feel.’ … I had 5 chest seals, which is ridiculous in my view, like I’ve made enjoyable of myself – when am I ever going to want 5 chest seals?”

He heard the breach after which began seeing youngsters introduced out amid the smoke from the temporary however intense firefight, he stated.

He went to assist a Border Patrol medic treating a lady shot by the chest. He stated he began checking her legs for accidents when he heard colleagues ask for a chest seal. Within the chaos of the response, all had been taken.

Springer stated they coated the woman’s wounds with gauze, received her onto a backboard and he repeatedly instructed the others to safe her head as they moved her, although he later believed the younger sufferer was too small for the service.

I can nonetheless hear her voice

EMT Kathlene Torres after treating Mayah Zamora

“I don’t assume that they secured her head as a result of she wasn’t tall sufficient for her head to be secured,” he stated. And whereas the woman was considered alive once they pulled her from the classroom, she didn’t survive, he stated.

When he ran again in, the hallway lined with posters celebrating the top of the college yr had been reworked. “You possibly can odor the iron – there was a lot blood,” he stated.

Again outdoors, Uvalde EMS Shoemake had put the primary sufferer in her ambulance to cover him from the crowds of anxious mother and father frantic for info, when one other baby was introduced out. She noticed an unattended ambulance from a personal firm with its door open and no stretcher, she stated.

“I had them put her on the ground of that ambulance and I began treating her there. Then whereas I used to be treating her, there was two extra 10-year-old boys delivered to me and so I put one on the bench and one within the captain’s seat.”

Shoemake’s colleagues together with Kathlene Torres got here to assist and received the little woman onto a stretcher and into one other ambulance, working to avoid wasting her life as they first thought a helicopter would take her after which getting her to the hospital themselves, they stated.

Torres instructed a DPS officer the woman was critically injured however nonetheless managed to share her title and date of delivery. She was Mayah Zamora, who would spend 66 days in hospital earlier than she may return to her household. “I can nonetheless hear her voice,” Torres stated.

No less than two of the EMTs had been at Robb earlier within the day to see awards introduced to their youngsters. One in every of them, Virginia Vela, had watched her 4th-grader son at a ten a.m. ceremony after which two hours later was corralled within the funeral dwelling car parking zone throughout the road from the college together with her husband and different mother and father who had been being held again by officers.

She instructed the DPS investigator that she was acknowledged as an area EMT and allowed into the funeral dwelling to deal with some youngsters who had been harm climbing by home windows to get away from the college.

Photographs present chaotic scene as Uvalde college students escape

When she went nearer to the college to assist the opposite EMTs, she noticed the primary sufferer introduced out, a boy who was useless, she stated.

“I assumed it was my son,” she stated. “As soon as I noticed his garments, I knew it wasn’t my son, however the concern … ran by my physique.”

Extra youngsters got here for emergency medical remedy.

What I used to be considering was ‘run buddy … get the hell away from that college, simply run to the bus’

EMT Virginia Vela when she lastly noticed her son

“One of many children that I had within the unit, he was shot within the shoulder. The coed that I used to be serving to up from the facet of the unit, he had bullet fragments on his thigh,” she stated. “After which we had one other scholar with blown off fingers. And she or he was simply out and in. We had been attempting to get her oxygen and attempting to maintain her alive. And I spotted these had been my son’s classmates and my son was not popping out.”

Vela opened the ambulance to see if extra youngsters had been being delivered to them. And at last, she noticed her boy operating from the college.

“I didn’t even run to him. I didn’t go get him. What I used to be considering was ‘run buddy … get the hell away from that college, simply run to the bus,’” she stated. “I grabbed my telephone, and I known as my husband and my husband’s like, ‘I see him, I see him, he’s getting onto the bus, he’s OK.’ And I stated, ‘OK, however I’ve received to remain right here with these college students.’ And I hung up and I continued to do my job.”

Vela instructed DPS she remembered a bit extra of the day after she knew her son was protected, but it surely was nonetheless a blur as she labored with Shoemake and the others, writing a baby’s vitals on their arms and getting them on their method – load and go, load and go.

And as soon as the emergency work was completed, she had an essential query.

“I requested my accomplice, ‘Did I freeze? Did I even allow you to?’ She goes, ‘Sure, woman. You had been like leaping from unit to unit, serving to all people that was popping out,’” Vela stated. “And I used to be like, I have to know this. I have to know that I continued doing my job.”