A Texas funeral worker who was one of the first people to come face-to-face with a gunman at Robb Elementary School last month said he immediately armed himself to stop the shooter but was stopped by police, leaving him feeling guilty that he couldn’t do more.
Cody Briseno said he was working at a funeral home near the Uvalde school when he saw shooting suspect Salvador Ramos crash his pickup truck in a nearby ditch and emerge from the vehicle with an “evil look” on his face, he told NBC News in an interview that aired Sunday.
“We locked eyes and he gave me this vibe. I told him, are you OK? Me thinking he was dazed out,” he said of that May 24 encounter.
Briseno said the 18-year-old then turned and went into his vehicle where he retrieved a rifle. As the teen started to load the firearm, Briseno yelled at a coworker who had joined him outside to run. Both of them safely escaped the spray of gunfire that was fired at them, he said, allowing Briseno to retrieve his own gun from his wife and charge after the shooter. That’s when a police officer stopped him.
“Hey, what are you going?” he recalled the officer asking him. He told the officer that he was going to stop the gunman and pointed out that the suspect was already inside the school. He was instead told to stay back and shut up.
“I feel guilty man, because I couldn’t stop (him),” Briseno said. In the days after, Briseno said he’s helped bury five children that were killed in the attack. One of the children, aged 10, was a cousin.
Law enforcement have been criticized over their delayed efforts to confront and stop the shooter. Parents of children at the school have said police officers forced them to wait powerlessly outside the school as the gunman carried out his rampage inside.
One local mother, who was handcuffed and nearly arrested after unsuccessfully imploring law enforcement to take action, said she managed to jump a fence and run inside the school for her two sons after being uncuffed.
“There was not one single officer inside the school when I arrived at my second son’s classroom,” Angela Gomez told CBS News last week of her experience inside. “You could hear the gunshots, it was still active.”
Gomez said when she did finally see first responders inside, she told them to give her a protective vest so she could help evacuate children herself.
“They could have saved many more lives. They could have gone into that classroom and maybe two or three would have been gone but they could have saved ... more,” she said while fighting back tears.
Gomez said that since the attack she received a call from a law enforcement officer who warned that she could face obstruction of justice charges if she continues to publicly speak out about what happened. Because she’s on probation for something that took place over a decade ago, she said she heeded that officer’s warning until a judge overseeing her probation told her that she did not face any new charges. The judge instead said that her probation would be shortened because of her bravery.