‘You are all gonna die,’ Texas school shooter told kids before opening fire

Texas shooting survivor Samuel Salinas, 10, said he came face-to-face with the gunman terrorising his school. “You are all gonna die,” the shooter told the kids in his class before opening fire.

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People gather at a memorial site to pay their respects for the victims killed in the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas (AP photo)

“Active shooter drills” are commonplace in American schools. Students, teachers and security staff must participate in this safety training exercise to prepare for the eventuality of a shooter barging into the campus. That ill-fated day, when gunshots rang out in the hallway, a teacher at the Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, knew it was no drill.

The teacher, who wished to remain unnamed, told NBC News that she yelled at the students to get under their desks while she hurriedly locked the classroom door. After years of drills, she and her students were in a life or death situation for real and they knew what to do. That did not make the experience any less terrifying, she said.

“They knew this wasn’t a drill. We knew we had to be quiet or else we were going to give ourselves away,” the teacher said.

READ: Texas shooter entered school through 'unlocked door', police reached after 15 minutes | Timeline

As they silently sheltered in place, they could hear the wails of wounded children from nearby rooms, the teacher recalled. Some students in her own class started weeping and she tried to comfort them without speaking. Eventually, the police came and everyone was evacuated. The ordeal was the “longest 35 minutes of my life”, she added.

While everyone in her classroom got away unscathed, others were not so lucky. At least 19 children and two teachers were killed by the shooter, later identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.

Samuel Salinas, 10, told ABC News that he came face-to-face with the gunman terrorising his school. “You are all gonna die,” the shooter told the kids in his class before opening fire.

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“He shot my teacher and then he shot the kids. I think he was aiming at me,” said Salinas, who ended up with bullet fragments in his leg.

Survivor Edward Timothy recalled how the gunshots seemingly sounded like popping fireworks. He told CNN that he and his friends were safe because “we practised [drills]”. The eight-year-old said he now has a fear of guns and of someone shooting him.

Other survivors of the attack said they pretended to be dead while waiting for help. Miah Cerrillo, 11, told CNN that she covered herself with a friend’s blood to look dead.