Samuel Salinas, a fourth-grader who survived the shooting, recounted the traumatic event to ABC News on Wednesday.
“I played dead so he won’t shoot me,” Samuel said. “He shot my teacher, then he shot the kids. … I think he was aiming at me. I guess one of the chairs was there, so it blocked it and pieces [fell] in my leg.”
In addition to his injury, Samuel is also struggling to emotionally process the attack.
“I kinda don’t feel safe going to school,” he told ABC News. “I feel hurt, and sometimes at night I have nightmares.”
His father, Christopher Salinas, organized a GoFundMe for his son’s “medical expenses and emergency funds for anything he needs during this time.”
Salinas wrote that Samuel was in recovery and the family’s goal was to help him “get through this tragic time as healthy as possible.”
Another survivor of the shooting spoke to the Washington Post on Wednesday about seeing his teacher get shot.
“She had some blood on her, but she was, like, whispering, ‘Stay calm. Stay where you are. Don’t move,’” the fourth-grader, whom the Post identified as Daniel, recalled.
Daniel’s mother, Briana Ruiz, told the Post that her son has since experienced nightmares and loss of interest in his usual hobbies. Daniel’s cousin Ellie Garcia was one of the 19 victims.
Daniel said that he used to play combat video games like Fortnite and Wargame but has not been able to touch his equipment since the shooting.
“I don’t like the gunshots and stuff,” he told the Post.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a GoFundMe spokesperson said hundreds of thousands of donors from the US and across the world had raised “millions of dollars for the families and community of Uvalde.”
“We are working around the clock to ensure the families receive the support they need and that funds are delivered quickly and safely,” the statement said.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Community Heath Development, a community center in Uvalde, wrote that it was planning how to address the long-term grief of residents.
“The CHDI Family is grieving the loss of many family members in the massacre yesterday,” the post said. “We are praying for everyone as we set a plan to address the need for long term grief counseling. We ask for your patience as we grieve and coordinate a united response to help our community.”
On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised that survivors of the Uvalde shooting would receive free mental health services, but many remain skeptical after Abbott recently slashed the budget for the state’s department that runs mental health programs.
“The child that made it home, thankfully they are here,” Daniel’s mother, Ruiz, told the Post. “But mentally and emotionally, a piece of that child that left their home that morning never came back with them.”