- In interviews obtained by CNN, emergency personnel described the scene of the Uvalde shooting to Texas investigators.
- One EMT said they had to wait outside of the school “for what felt like a while” before entering.
- The hallways were soon soaked with blood as another EMT said they could “smell the iron.”
Medical personnel who rushed to the scene of last year’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas told investigators there was so much blood in the school hallways they could “smell the iron.”
In interviews obtained by CNN, EMTs who responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary School last May described the scene to investigators from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
A shooter killed a total of 19 children and two teachers during the attack, which unfolded over the course of an hour as officials waited to confront the suspect. At least one of the teachers and two children were still alive when law enforcement finally stormed the classrooms, but later died, according to CNN.
Amanda Shoemake, who said she arrived in the first Uvalde EMS ambulance on the scene, told investigators that she and her colleagues were waiting for “what felt like a while.” She said spent the time directing traffic before officials called for medical personnel in the school, according to the interviews obtained by CNN.
When they were finally called in, Shoemake said EMTs were told the shooter had not yet been apprehended and may have been hiding in the ceiling. They sheltered as law enforcement confronted the shooter, Shoemake told investigators.
“We just squatted down there and waited there until the shooting stopped,” Shoemake said, according to CNN. “And then after some time they brought out the first kid that was an obvious DOA.”
Zach Springer, a trooper from the Texas Department of Public Safety and a certified EMT, told investigators that he brought five chest seals to the scene, which are wound dressing kits for chest trauma. Springer said he had once thought to himself, “When am I ever going to need five chest seals?” As he helped other medics treat so many children with gunshot wounds to the chest, he realized other emergency personnel hadn’t brought enough. The school hallways were soon covered in blood.
“You could smell the iron – there was so much blood,” Springer told investigators.
Virginia Vela, an EMT with a son in fourth grade at Robb Elementary, told investigators she thought the first victim she saw, a boy who was deceased, was her son.
“I thought it was my son,” Vela said, according to CNN. “Once I saw his clothes, I knew it wasn’t my son, but the fear … ran through my body.”
Vela worked to treat other children while keeping an eye out for her own, she told investigators.
“One of the kids that I had in the unit, he was shot in the shoulder. The student that I was helping up from the side of the unit, he had bullet fragments on his thigh,” Vela told the investigators. “And then we had another student with blown-off fingers. And she was just in and out. We were trying to get her oxygen and trying to keep her alive. And I realized those were my son’s classmates and my son was not coming out.”
When she finally spotted her child running from the school, Vela told investigators that she “didn’t even run to him” because she had to continue treating injured students.
“I didn’t go get him. What I was thinking was ‘run buddy … get the hell away from that school, just run to the bus,'” Vela told investigators, per CNN. “I called my husband and my husband’s like, ‘I see him, I see him, he’s getting onto the bus, he’s OK.’ And I said, ‘OK, but I’ve got to stay here with these students.’ And I hung up and I continued to do my job.”