Uvalde school massacre: ‘There was so much blood’: Medics tell what they saw at Robb Elementary School


The chaotic and bloody aftermath of the Uvaldi school massacre is horrifying, showing how first responders desperately tried to treat multiple victims with whatever equipment they had, according to previously unheard interviews.

Some came from get off work or traveled far to support their colleagues who were sent to Robb Primary School, where classrooms have become a killing zone, but lives still need to be saved.

One state trooper with emergency medical certificates always carried five chest packs and never thought he’d need them all at the same time; local paramedics crouched behind a wall when the gunshots rang out and quickly treated three children; and her off-duty co-workers, who she found herself taking care of her son’s classmates without knowing if her son was still alive.

Amanda Shoemake arrived at the school in the first Uvalde EMS ambulance last May 24, she told a Texas Department of Public Safety investigator. But as law enforcement waited 77 minutes before challenging the shooter, she said she spent some time trying to direct traffic to clear a path for ambulances after victims started coming out, she said, according to investigative transcripts obtained by CNN.

“We were just waiting for a while. Then someone … came and they said, ‘Well, we need EMS now,'” she said in an interview as part of the DPS investigation into the failure to respond to the school shooting Part of the attack, 19 children and two teachers were rescued and killed. At least one teacher and two children were alive when police eventually stormed the classroom, but they all died later.

When Shoemaker and colleagues arrived at the school building, they were told the shooter hadn’t been found and was probably in the ceiling, she recalled, adding how they took cover behind a brick wall when the shooter encountered him.

“We just squatted there and waited until the gunfire stopped,” she said. “And then after a while, they brought out the first kid who was obviously DOA.”

DPS Trooper Zach Springer was one of hundreds of law enforcement officers from southwestern Texas who responded to Rob when the call for reinforcements was sounded. He had been certified as an EMT a few months earlier, he told the Texas Rangers who interviewed him.

On the day of the shooting, hundreds of armed law enforcement officers flocked to Uvaldi.

“I made a conscious decision not to carry a rifle,” he said as he drove. “I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t need rifles, they need medical gear.”

Springer entered the school and began preparing a diversion area at the end of the hallway, where armed personnel from the varsity team, local police department, sheriff’s office, state police and federal agencies lined up. While commanding officers, including then-school police chief Pete Arredondo, acting city police chief Mariano Pajas and Sheriff Ruben Nolasco, made various statements about whether they knew children were injured and needed rescue, But medical staff in many institutions prepared victims.

“I do my best,” he said. “I put in tourniquets, gauze, Israeli bandages, compression bandages, hemostatic gauze. I was like, ‘I think I’ve got everything.’ “…I have five breast seals, which seems ridiculous to me, like I’m making fun of myself – when do I need five breast seals?

He said he heard a breach and then began to see children being led out in the smoke from the brief but intense firefight.

He went to help a Border Patrol doctor treat a girl who had been shot in the chest. He said when he heard a colleague request a chest seal, he began checking her leg for injuries. In a chaotic reaction, everything was taken away.

Springer said they covered the girl’s wounds with gauze, lowered her to the backboard, and he repeatedly told the others to hold her head while moving her, though he later believed the young victim was a victim of the backboard. too small.

“I don’t think they fixed her head because she wasn’t tall enough to hold her head,” he said. He said that while the girl was thought to be alive when they pulled her from the classroom, she did not survive.

When he ran back, the hallway, lined with posters celebrating the end of the school year, had changed. “You could smell the iron – there was so much blood,” he said.

Body camera footage showed officers before the classroom was vandalized. The corridors will soon be covered in blood.

Back outside, Uvalde EMS Shoemake placed the first victim in her ambulance to escape a frenzied crowd of eager parents asking for information, as another child was brought out. She said she saw a private company driving an unmanned ambulance with the doors open and no stretcher.

“I had them put her on the floor of the ambulance, and I started treating her there. Then while I was treating her, they brought me two more 10-year-old boys, so I put one in the long one on the captain’s seat.”

Shoemake’s colleagues, including Kathlene Torres, came to help, put the little girl on a stretcher and into another ambulance in an effort to save her life because they initially thought the helicopter would take her, they said. Then he took her to the hospital.

Torres told a DPS officer the girl was seriously injured but managed to share her name and date of birth. She is Mayah Zamora, and she will spend 66 days in the hospital before returning to her family. “I can still hear her,” Torres said.

Earlier in the day, at least two EMTs had been to Robb to watch the awards be presented to their children. One of them, Virginia Vela, watched her fourth-grader’s son during the 10 a.m. ceremony before she was locked up with her husband and other blocked parents in a building across from the school two hours later. Funeral home parking lot. sir.

She told DPS investigators that she was believed to be a local EMT and was allowed into the funeral home to treat some children who were injured after fleeing the school through a window.

She said that as she approached the school to help other EMTs, she saw the first victim brought out, a dead boy.

“I thought it was my son,” she said. “As soon as I saw his clothes, I knew it wasn’t my son, but fear… ran through me.”

More children came to the rescue.

“I had a kid in the unit who was shot in the shoulder. The student I was lifting from the side of the unit had bullet fragments in his thigh,” she said. “Then we had another student whose fingers were blown off. She was just going in and out. We tried to give her oxygen and tried to keep her alive. I realized those were my son’s classmates and my son wasn’t going to come out.”

Vera opened the ambulance to see if more children were being brought to them. Finally, she saw her son run from school.

“I didn’t even run to him. I didn’t pick him up. I was like ‘Run dude… get the hell out of that school and get on the bus,'” she said. “I picked up my phone and called my husband, and my husband said, ‘I saw him, I saw him, he’s getting in the car, he’s fine.’ I said, ‘Okay, but I have to talk to These students stay here.’ Then I hung up and got on with my job.”

Vela told DPS she remembers a bit more of the day after she knew her son was safe, but it was still a blur as she worked with Shoemake and others, writing the child’s vitals on their arms, And get them on the road—load and go, load and go.

With the urgent work done, she has an important question.

“I asked my partner, ‘Am I freezing? Did I even help you?’ ‘” Vera said. “I was like, I need to know this. I need to know that I keep doing my job.”

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