UVALDE, Texas – Briana Ruiz dropped off her son, 9-year-old Daniel Garza, at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, just as she has every other day during the school year.
Little did she know that that particular school day would change both of their lives forever and the little boy she dropped off would never be the same again.
Daniel was inside of his classroom when an 18-year-old gunman stormed inside the school while armed with an AR-style rifle.
In an interview with ABC News, Daniel said he could see the gunman through his classroom window and watched as his teacher, Elsa Avila, quickly sprung into action.
Avila reportedly locked the classroom door and played dead on the floor while telling students to remain quiet, according to ABC News.
Daniel’s mother said his teacher’s quick actions may have been what saved her son’s life and other students.
“I personally can’t thank my son’s teacher enough, because I feel what she did saved all their lives,” Briana said.
The gunman had tugged at Daniel’s classroom’s door handle, but wasn’t able to open it, according to a report from The Washington Post. It wasn’t long after that when the gunman fired multiple gunshots through the door’s glass window.
Avila was struck twice by the gunfire, but survived. Another student was hit by a bullet in the nose, The Post reports.
Authorities said the gunman later made his way down the hall and barricaded himself inside a fourth-grade classroom and opened fire. He was inside of the classroom for over an hour before he was shot and killed by Border Patrol agents.
Daniel was uninjured in the shooting, but his mother said he will never be the same as he was before.
“The same child that I dropped off that morning, I feel like a piece of him stayed there because when I did got him back, he wasn’t the same anymore,” Briana told ABC News. “I know it’s gonna take time and it’s gonna be a long road of recovery, especially for him.”
The gunman’s massacre at Robb Elementary claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers. One of the victims was Daniel’s cousin and his mother’s niece.
As the Uvalde community works to piece itself back together after this horrific incident, Briana told ABC News that more needs to be done to ensure schools are safe for her child, and for others.
“Unfortunately, there has to be more measures taken to ensure that our children are safe and secure, even just having to go to school to get their education,” she said.
Read more about Sunday’s memorial: