Man who confronted Uvalde gunman moments before school shooting recounts events after suspect crashed

Albert Vargas said he was shot at twice by the gunman

Uvalde, TEXASRead the latest information about the Uvalde school shooting here. Learn about the victims of Robb Elementary School here.

Albert Vargas said he was at work in Uvalde when he heard a wreck around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“I was working across the street on Geraldine (Street),” Vargas said. “I ran down there thinking that the guy needed help.”

Vargas said two other men from the funeral home next door also ran to aid the man who would later be identified as the gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary on Tuesday.

The gunman had crashed his grandfather’s truck in a ditch.

“I was, like, 10 yards away (from him, and by) the time we got right there, he spotted the other two guys first, came out with an automatic weapon, shot at least twice, maybe three times at them,” Vargas said. “Then, that’s when he spotted me, and boy, I mean, I was already in motion to run, and that’s when he -- bam, bam.”

Vargas said two gunshots were fired toward him.

“Man, it happened so quick,” Vargas said. “I can only tell you that he did not say anything. I mean, he just pointed the weapon and fired off.”

Moments later, the gunman would go inside Robb Elementary School to shoot and kill 21 people.

“I knew that something wasn’t right, but I had no idea I was going to go to that, the school or anything,” Vargas said.

And that’s exactly what haunts Vargas.

“I carry a pistol in my truck. I took it out two days ago,” Vargas said. “If I would have had it there, I could have I could have laid him down because no cops were there at that time. It took, like, I say, four or five minutes after he wrecked for them to get there. When (officers) got there, they jumped down on him, and I guess he was running, like, in a field. And they were shooting at him, and he was returning fire.”

Vargas later witnessed when the children were ushered out of school to reunite with their families.

“Seeing them, you know, kids come out of the school, and they were first taken to the funeral home,” Vargas said. “The expression on their little faces, I mean, it’s just horrible to me.”

Vargas said he’s still trying to make sense of the pain and horror his community is dealing with first-hand.

“It keeps repeating in my mind, you know,” Vargas said. “Like last night, I stayed up real late, and I’m saying, ‘Man, what could I have done different?’”


About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.