Uvalde school teacher says she is ‘suffering mentally’ after false blame during shooting aftermath
The teacher, Emilia Marin, was accused of leaving an exterior door open before Robb Elementary shooting
In May 2022, one of the worst school shootings in history was carried out at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Twenty-one lives were lost that day: 19 third and fourth grade students and two teachers. Another 17 were wounded.
As the tragic event was pieced together, blame was misplaced on a teacher at Robb Elementary for leaving a door propped open, NPR reported earlier this year. On Monday, that teacher chose to speak out to ABC News about the day that she says left her “suffering mentally.”
Who is Emilia Marin?
Emilia “Amy” Marin was a school aide at Robb Elementary. Marin worked as a speech pathologist at the school and she also planned after-school programs.
Marin said she always wanted to work with children.
“I have always loved children and I always wanted to be around them,” she told ABC News. “It doesn’t matter if you are having a bad day, they will always make it better.”
Why did Marin get blamed for the Uvalde shooting?
On the day of the shooting, Marin propped an outside door open with a rock. Marin closed the door before the shooter arrived but was unaware it was not locked.
As officials investigated how the shooter was able to enter the school, Col. Steven McCraw, the top police official in Texas, told reporters the exterior door “was propped open by a teacher.”
A few days later, McCraw “quietly” retracted his statement and explained the truth: The door was closed prior to the shooter’s arrival. For some reason, it did not lock even though it is supposed to lock automatically.
For Marin, damage had already been done. She shared her message to McCraw with ABC News.
“To Mr. McCraw: it is your job to investigate when any incident like that happens. You sit there and you investigate. Your job was to sit there and watch that video to watch from beginning to end. You chose not to.”
What has the impact been in Marin’s life?
When McCraw passed blame on Marin for the shooter’s entrance into the school, Marin felt extreme distress, she told ABC News. She began “shaking from head to toe,” and needed her daughter to take her to the hospital.
“I died that day,” Marin said. “I am suffering mentally, of course, emotionally,”
Marin said that she often finds herself in a dark place, replaying every detail of that day in her mind.
“I see those victims’ faces. I pray for them every night,” she said. “I will never be the person that I was before, I did die that day. I see the windows boarded up and the fence around the campus. I tell my counselor, ‘I’m in there. I’m still in there.’”
After the shooting, Marin wanted to speak with Hal Harrell, the Uvalde School District superintendent. Marin told ABC that Harrell refused to visit her in the hospital and Marin has yet to hear from him.
“I have not heard from any administration since the incident,” Marin said.
Marin suffers from severe arthritis and post-traumatic stress disorder. She still cannot get back to work but told ABC that she won’t let the shooter win — she will learn to live with her trauma.
Marin’s untold story
Marin wants the country to know the truth about what happened that day at Robb Elementary. She gave details of those events for the first time to ABC News this week.
Marin heard the crash of a Ford pickup and went outside to see what was going on and, suspecting someone was hurt, she called 911.
“I walked out and then they yelled he had a gun, I ran back in. I ran back to the building and I closed the door,” she said. “I am telling the operator that he is shooting. I could hear the kids screaming.”
Marin heard children on the playground screaming. She saw them running for their lives.
To get more help, Marin banged on the teacher’s door across the hall and informed her of what was going on. As she stayed on the phone with the 911 operator, Marin hid under a table.
“There was shooting and it wouldn’t stop. He just kept shooting and shooting,” she said. “I looked around and I hid under the counter. The whole time I am asking the operator, ‘Where are the cops? Where are the cops?’”
Police who arrived at the scene did not immediately go to the classroom where the killer hid with the victims. They did not enter that classroom for over an hour after their arrival, the Texas Tribune reported.
The officials’ slow response has received much criticism. Due to the poor response of officials, the Uvalde school district’s police chief and other state troopers have since been fired. The Uvalde school district’s superintendent announced his retirement this month, per CNN.