'I am suffering mentally,' Uvalde educator says on false blame for events leading to shooting: Exclusive

Emilia "Amy" Marin said she felt vilified and hired a lawyer to fight back.

October 23, 2022, 10:23 PM

Emilia "Amy" Marin, faced with a gunman heading toward a Texas elementary school in May, said she tried frantically to save the lives of students. She closed an exterior door, called 911 and shouted to alert people inside Robb Elementary School.

At home three days later, Marin heard the top police official in Texas blame her for allowing the killer to get inside the building. A retraction would be issued within days, but Marin's life would never be the same, she said.

"I am suffering mentally, of course, emotionally," Marin told ABC News correspondent John Quiñones in her first interview since the May 24 shooting. "I still don't sleep."

You can watch the full interview with Emilia "Amy" Marin on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday.

Marin, an afterschool program coordinator, had only worked at Robb Elementary for a month when the shooting occurred. But the trauma of that day has endured; she now has a stutter and suffers from a tremor. Her friends and family say she is a changed woman.

On the morning of the shooting, she said she saw the gunman crash his vehicle and watched him jump the school fence with his rifle. She heard shots fired.

Quickly, Marin said she kicked out a rock that she had used to prop open the school's door. It slammed shut behind her.

FILE PHOTO: Investigators search for evidences outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022, one day after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.
Investigators search for evidences outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022, one day after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.
Jae C. Hong/AP, File

On the phone with 911, she said, "I cannot see him… the kids are running!"

Three days after the rampage, Col. Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a news conference that a "teacher" propped open the door and that's how the killer got in. Nineteen students and two of their teachers died in the massacre.

"The teacher runs to the room, 132, to retrieve a phone, and that same teacher walks back to the exit door and the door remains propped open," McCraw said.

Marin said she felt vilified and hired a lawyer to fight back.

Within days, DPS admitted that McCraw's comments were wrong. On Sunday, a DPS spokesman told ABC News, "DPS corrected this error in public announcements and testimony and apologizes to the teacher and her family for the additional grief this has caused to an already horrific situation."

Marin told Quiñones she believed she was being made a "scapegoat."

Uvalde:365 is a continuing ABC News series reported from Uvalde and focused on the Texas community and how it forges on in the shadow of tragedy.

ABC News' Teddy Grant contributed to this report.

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