Emergency workers responding to shooting in Uvalde said there was so much blood they could “smell like iron”: report

  • In interviews obtained by CNN, emergency personnel described the scene of the Uvalde shooting to Texas investigators.
  • An EMT said they had to wait outside the school “for what seemed like a while” before going inside.
  • The hallways were soon soaked in blood as another EMT said they could “smell iron.”

Medical personnel rushing to the scene of last year’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, told investigators there was so much blood in the school hallways that they could “smell iron.”

In interviews obtained by CNNEMTs who responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary School last May described the scene to investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

One shooter killed a total of 19 children and two teachers during the attack, which took place over the course of an hour as the officials waited confront the suspect. At least one of the teachers and two children were still alive when police finally stormed the classrooms, but they later died, according to CNN.

Amanda Shoemake, who said she arrived on the scene in the first Uvalde EMS ambulance, told investigators that she and her colleagues were waiting “for what seemed like a while.” She said she spent the time directing traffic before officials called school medical personnel, according to interviews obtained by CNN.

When they were finally called, Shoemake said EMTs were told the shooter had not yet been apprehended and may have been hiding on the roof. They took cover when police confronted the shooter, Shoemake told investigators.

“We just crouched there and waited there until the shooting stopped,” Shoemake said, according to CNN. “And then after a while, they brought out the first kid who was an obvious DOA.”

Zach Springer, a Texas Department of Public Safety police officer and certified EMT, told investigators that he brought five chest seals to the scene, which are chest trauma bandage kits. Springer said that he once thought to himself, “When am I going to need five chest seals?” As he helped other doctors treat so many children with gunshot wounds to the chest, he realized that the rest of the emergency personnel hadn’t brought enough. The halls of the school were soon covered in blood.

“You could smell the iron, there was so much blood,” Springer told investigators.

Virginia Vela, an EMT with a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary, told investigators she thought the first victim she saw, a boy who had died, was her son.

“I thought it was my son,” Vela said, according to CNN. “Once I saw his clothes, I knew he wasn’t my son, but fear… ran through my body.”

Vela worked to treat other children while caring for her own, she told investigators.

“One of the children I had in the unit was shot in the shoulder. The student who was helping to get up from the side of the unit had bullet fragments in his thigh,” Vela told investigators. “And then we had another student with her fingers blown off. And she was going in and out. We were trying to get her oxygen and keep her alive. And I realized they were my son’s classmates and my son wasn’t coming out.” .”

When she finally saw her son run out of the school, Vela told investigators that she “didn’t even run to him” because she had to keep treating injured students.

“I didn’t go looking for him. What I was thinking was ‘run buddy… get away from that school, just run to the bus,'” Vela told investigators, according to CNN. “I called my husband and my husband said, ‘I see him, I see him, he’s getting on the bus, he’s okay.’ And I said, ‘Okay, but I have to stay here with these students.’ And I hung up and kept doing my job.”

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