First Responders Describe 'Chaos' During Uvalde School Shooting

By Dani Medina

May 25, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

"There was a lot of chaos."

That's how Uvalde firefighter Ernest "Chip" King described the scene that unfolded on Tuesday (May 24) at the Texas elementary school. He told People that "Fathers smashed windows, and physically pulled their kids out of classrooms."

Another first responder recounted the heartbreaking moment he witnessed of a teacher. "Teachers were doing head counts of their students, but there was panic because they couldn't remember which kids had been absent. It was the end of the school year and a lot of kids were missing. I saw one teacher trying not to cry as she asked the kids who had been absent that day," a police officer said.

Outside the school, parents were panicking, trying to find their children, People reported. "There was lot of angst and a lot of fear. Parents were wondering where their kids were, trying to find them amidst all the chaos. They were terrified," King added. "We were trying to keep the area secure. We worked with EMS ambulances to get them in and out. There were helicopters overhead."

An hour later, there were about 500 first responders on the scene — some of which arrived from San Antonio, which is about 85 miles away from Uvalde. One of those first responders, an EMT who only wanted to be identified by his first name, Rey, shared the story of a girl covered in blood when he arrived on the scene 20 minutes after the shooting. Rey said, "I was stabilizing a little girl, she was so tiny. There was blood everywhere. She had been shot in the chest and the shoulder. We were trying to stop the bleeding. I looked at her and I was like 'She's just a baby. Who would shoot a baby?'"

King continued to recall the desperation some parents felt while waiting to be reunited with their children. "People told me that they had been to the two places where the children were being reunited with their parents, and their kids weren't there. Unfortunately, they knew exactly what that meant," he said.

More waiting took place at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, where Rey remembers parents waiting on word about their kids. "Two women were sobbing, clinging to each other. The energy in that waiting room was so dark, watching people have the worst day of their entire lives," he said.

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