‘I’m just still scared’: Uvalde 3rd-grader describes surviving massacre

Southwest

Correction: The student’s name, Joevonni Gomez, was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) — Third-grader Joevonni Gomez loves playing football with his friends.

He might want to be a football player when he grows up, or maybe start a company. Like many 9-year-olds, those dreams have yet to fully form.

But he’s already grappling with emotions even adults find difficult to understand.

“It’s hard for all the parents that lost their kids,” Joevonni said as he sat in his front yard on Wednesday.

Just the day before, he was inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, when an announcement rang on the intercom.

“It said, ‘There is an active shooter on campus. Please go inside your classrooms,'” Joevonni recalled.

He and his classmates hid.

“We had to go like that,” he said, crouching down and putting his arms over his head. “In case … the shooter, hits the window, and it comes flying in our classroom, it doesn’t hit us.”

The children had lots of questions.

“We were whispering, because we didn’t know what to do. We were just scared,” Joevonni recalled, wringing his hands. “Like what’s happening, and why did this happen, and why is he doing this?”

But he said they did their best to comfort each other.

“We just like stood … next to each other, (sat) next to each other and … we just (held) on to each other, like hugging,” Joevonni remembered.

“I’m just scared that, like, if I go back to school it’s going to happen again,” he added.

Right now, Joevonni can’t find the words for everything he’s feeling.

“I don’t know how to describe it, but [I’m] really scared and shaken up,” he said. “I’m just still scared about what happened yesterday.”

Joevonni knows one of the victims, Jayce Carmelo Luevanos.

“He showed me something, and then we started talking about it,” he said. “That’s the last memory I had.”

He’s grateful for his teachers who protected him. Joevonni said they stood in the doorway, in case the shooter broke in.

“They were standing in the door in case if the … if the shooter breaks in,” he said. “The teacher will block the bullets with their bodies, so we can run and save our lives.”

His parents said they know their little boy could have been a victim, too, and they’re thankful they get to hug and hold him.

“I was glad I made it,” Joevonni said.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District has set up a memorial fund with First State Bank for affected families, especially those with medical and funeral expenses.

“Please know that the FSB account, the information below, is the only verified location to make any monetary donations. No other source is currently recognized,” the district posted on its Facebook page.

The district said people can make all checks payable to the “Robb School Memorial Fund” and mail them to 200 E Nopal St. Uvalde, TX 78801.

There is also an option to send donations via Zelle, using the email robbschoolmemorialfund@gmail.com.

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