Shot in her side, with the bullet injuring her colon and intestines, teacher Elsa Avila sat putting pressure on her wound as she texted people for help during the May mass murder. Intending a message for a teachers’ group chat, she mistakenly sent a scary message to a family chat group: “I’m shot.”
According to the Associated Press, three minutes later, from Room 109, down the hall from where the shooter had barricaded himself into adjoining classrooms 111 and 112, systematically murdering 19 students and two teachers, Avila could hear police outside her classroom door. She texted her vice principal: “I’m shot. Send help.” Minutes later, still hearing police outside her door, she sent the same message to a school counselor. That was at 11:45 a.m. “Yes they are coming,” the principal wrote back at 11:48 a.m. Help would not reach her for another 45 minutes, when police broke a window to the classroom to evacuate the students and teachers.
It’s unclear if anyone was relaying the messages from inside the school building and various classrooms to law enforcement to allow them to assist the wounded in other areas of the school. Avila’s classroom, Room 109, was two doors down the hall from where the shooter had taken up a position–in a classroom where the door reportedly didn’t lock properly, but which police didn’t try to enter for more than an hour.
Elsa Avila survived her wounds. With a large scar down her torso, she won’t be going back to teaching in the Uvalde school this year. The time she and her 16 students spent in that classroom–more than an hour–as a gunman periodically fired rounds, likely killshots for students and teachers–left them all with trauma.
The school building is scheduled to be demolished. Surviving students and teachers will employ a mix of in-person learning with virtual education to try to serve the families and educators who were in the building.