The chaos and horror of the Uvalde school massacre in May 2018 has been revealed in new interviews with emergency responders who rushed to the scene. According to records obtained by CNN, medics treated multiple victims with whatever equipment they had, including off-duty colleagues who found themselves caring for their own children’s classmates. Law enforcement officers waited for 77 minutes before challenging the shooter on the day of the killings, during which 19 children and two teachers were murdered. Despite their best efforts, at least one teacher and two children were still alive when officers finally stormed the classrooms, but died later.
Important Details about Uvalde school massacre: ‘So much blood:’ Medics tell what they saw and did at Robb Elementary –
– Interviews reveal chaotic aftermath of Uvalde school massacre
– Emergency medics treated multiple victims with whatever equipment they had
– Off-duty medics and those from other areas rushed to back up colleagues
– Law enforcement officers waited 77 minutes to challenge the shooter
– Medics tried to prepare for victims, setting up triage areas and using available medical supplies
– At least one teacher and two children were alive when officers finally stormed the classrooms, but they died later
– Medics worked to save the lives of the injured, including Mayah Zamora who spent 66 days in hospital
– Some of the EMTs had children attending the school and saw the aftermath firsthand
– Fear ran through one EMT when she first saw a victim and thought it was her son
– Parents were frantic for information about their children, but medics worked relentlessly to save lives.
CNN — The Chilling Aftermath of the Uvalde School Massacre
It was May 24, 2018, when the world came to know about the Uvalde school massacre, which shocked the entire nation. The incident happened in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers lost their lives. However, the aftermath of the massacre was far more chaotic and bloody due to the evident lack of emergency response preparedness. It was only after recently obtained interviews with emergency medical technicians that the true chaotic picture of the aftermath came into light.
Initially, the medics rushed to the Robb Elementary School to save as many lives as possible. Some of them were off-duty technicians who joined their colleagues to help the victims of the massacre. However, as more medics arrived at the site, they quickly realized that the lack of organization and communication hampered the rescue efforts. The delayed response from law enforcement agencies made it difficult for medical personnel to enter the school and assist the victims.
A few first responders were lucky enough to survive the terrifying ordeal and recounted their experiences during the investigation. One of them was Amanda Shoemake, who was one of the first Uvalde EMS ambulance drivers to reach the school. However, instead of being able to treat the injured, she ended up directing the emergency vehicles to allow as many vehicles as possible to reach the site.
As she waited for a go-ahead, she saw the chaos unraveling in front of her eyes, hearing gunshots and children screaming. She recounted how, along with her colleagues, they took cover behind a wall as the shooting continued. After the shooting stopped, they discovered that the shooter was in the ceiling. Shoemake and her team then proceeded toward the school entrance, where they saw the first child who had died.
On the other hand, DPS trooper Zach Springer was amongst those who responded to the Uvalde school tragedy. As an EMT, he had only taken his medical gear with him, assuming they would not require rifles with that many people present. He intended to set up a triage unit in the school hallway to treat the injured. Making his way inside the building, he looked at the sight that would become the source of his nightmares. The smell of blood and the injured, frightened children moved Springer immensely.
He searched for a place to set up his triage, but law enforcement agencies were all over the place. He finally found a spot and laid out his gear. He even made sure he had five chest seals, which he scoffed at later, as it was entirely too many. When the chaos escalated, however, he ended up using all five of them. He knew then that the situation was far worse than anticipated.
The local EMT, Kathlene Torres, treated Mayah Zamora who would, later on, recover and be able to join her family after staying in the hospital for 66 days. Today, Torres still hears the little girl’s voice, and it resonates within her heart. Initially, Uvalde EMS Shoemake put the first victim in an ambulance to prevent anxious parents from panic. When more children arrived injured, she had them placed in another ambulance, which had been left open by a private company.
Meanwhile, Virginia Vela, a local EMT, was present at the awards ceremony held in the same school hours before the shooting. Little did she know that she would be back at the site working to save the lives of her son’s friends. After she and her husband were held back by the officers in a funeral home parking lot across the street from the school, Virginia was granted entry to the funeral home to treat injured children who had climbed out of the school through the windows to get away.
After making her way closer to the site of the shooting, she saw the first victim, a boy who had died, but she didn’t find out it was not her son until later. Other children arrived at the ambulance, some with bullet fragments. She worked tirelessly to save their lives as she was unsure if her son was alive or not. Eventually, she saw her son running towards the bus, and the relief of knowing that he was safe made her continue assisting the injured.
The testimonials of the medics painted a picture of chaos and confusion that trampled over their attempts to save lives. The rescue operation did not display proper collaboration, and the delayed response from the law enforcement agencies added additional difficulties for the emergency responders. The tragic incident exposed the importance of emergency preparedness and the need to have a seamless collaboration between different agencies in such situations. Until then, the memories of the chaos of that day will continue to haunt the medics for the rest of their lives.