Texas school mass shooting: 10-year-old survivor recalls hearing shots and screams as gunman opened fire

Traumatized survivors will carry forever the horror of hiding from a killer with a rifle.

Investigators in Uvalde reveal the mass shooter likely got into the school through an unlocked side-door that was supposed to be locked. They also say Salvador Ramos was apparently in the building for more than an hour before law enforcement killed him.

10-year-old Gemma Lopez says she heard the shots and the screams. She hid under her desk. She lost her best friend.

"I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw police officers and then I heard more of the gunshots," she recalled. 

The Robb Elementary School fourth-grader was in her classroom Tuesday morning when the 18-year-old gunman armed with an AR15-style rifle began shooting up the connecting classroom next door.

Texas school shooter walked through apparently unlocked door, police say

"A bullet came through the wall. It went in between Jalisa and Stacy. It went past my arm and hit the table," she recalled.

Gemma and her classmates were watching a movie. It was supposed to be a fun day with the end of the school year on the horizon. Soon, it was about survival.

Her teacher turned off the lights and told the students to hide.

"We were all quiet under the table," she said. "I was crying just a little bit."

Gemma says police evacuated their classroom. She says she ran and never looked back.

"I was just scared because I thought he would like be coming in our room and shoot everybody," she said.

Sadly Gemma would later learn her best friend, 10-year-old Eliahana Cruz Torres, was among the 19 students and two teachers who were killed.

Like many family members who first arrived on scene, Gemma’s grandmother was desperate to get inside the school.

"I didn’t know what to do," said Fernanda Moreno. "I wanted to jump the fence and see what was going on.

Witness video from the day of the shooting shows frantic parents pacing outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde begging police officers to go inside and confront the gunman.

DPS says it was approximately one hour from the time police encountered the shooter to the time he was killed.

"That’s long," said parent Olivia Munoz. "I think that’s terrible. They should’ve done something."

At a press briefing Thursday afternoon, the Texas Department of Public Safety laid out an updated timeline reversing some information that had previously reported.

Wednesday, FOX News and others spoke to DPS officials who said the shooter and a school resource officer exchanged fire. But on Thursday, Lt. Victor Escalon with DPS said there was no officer on the campus and the shooter walked into an unlocked door on the west side of the school with no resistance.

Police eventually did arrive about 10 to 15 minutes after the shooter crashed his grandmother's truck near the school and fired on two people at a nearby funeral home

"They hear gunfire. They take rounds," Escalon said. "They move back. Get cover."

They saw the gunman enter a joint-classroom through two open doors.


Salvador Ramos is pictured in a handout image. (Credit: Texas Department of Public Safety)

"They don't make entry initially because of the gunfire they're receiving. But we have officers calling for additional resources," Escalon said. "Everybody that's in the area, tactical teams, we need equipment. We need specialty equipment."

An hour later, a border patrol tactical team arrived with protective gear and a shield.

It's unclear how many children who were shot early on may have survived had authorities gotten into the classroom sooner.

And as the investigation continues, more tragic news from the aftermath of this shooting.

Thursday, the family of Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed, announced her husband Joe suffered a fatal heart attack. Their family posted online that the grief of losing his high school sweetheart killed him. They leave behind four children. The youngest was 13 years old.

Meanwhile, the community continues to stop by the school and pay their respects.

Some parents of the victims, including the father of one 10-year-old girl, insisting police should have done more.

A lot of parents were arguing with police, 'You all need to go in. You all need to do your jobs,’" he said.

There are numerous reports of parents directly confronting law enforcement outside the school.

One mother told the Wall Street Journal that she was handcuffed by U.S. Marshals but eventually jumped a fence and got her kids off campus herself. A spokesman for U.S. Marshals denied the claims.