Second-grade teacher on Seattle shooting: 'He looked me in the eyes and shot'
Deborah Judd, 56, was one of three people shot on Sand Point Way on Wednesday afternoon. She is a second-grade teacher at Laurelhurst Elementary. This is her account, which was lightly edited for clarity.
I was zipping along — I think I was eating Cheez-Its — and I came around the corner, and he walked straight out in the middle of the road, pointing the gun at me.
He was probably about six feet from me. He looked me in the eyes and shot. He said nothing.
At first I thought, “Oh, maybe it's paintballs. They can hurt a lot.” And then I saw the blood on my arm…
The car swerved over to the side and stopped. He shot one more time, which broke my back window, and I slumped over the emergency brake.
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I heard one more shot … I’ve come to realize that was the man who died.
I lay perfectly still, because I didn't know if he would come and kill me. I laid there and laid there and laid there, and cars were coming by, and I couldn't figure out why nobody was helping me. All I could hear was the traffic going by.
When the shooting stopped, I was like, “I'm not going to lie here, I'm gonna get up.” I sat up, and there were two men across the street and I looked at them, and I said, “Help me.”
One of them looked at me kind of confused. I don't think he knew I was hurt. I crawled out of the car into the street, and he came running over and said, “She’s shot.”
They started looking for a fireman, and very kind firemen came and stayed with me. He put a tourniquet on my left arm because I was concerned my hands were going numb. The paramedics arrived and said, “We gotta go check on the person that's hurt more than you,” and I said, “Yeah, you gotta triage.”
They came back a couple minutes later and said, “He’s DOA” — dead on arrival. The man across the street said he’d seen the gunman shoot him.
I don't know why I was the lucky one, but I also don't know why somebody stepped out in the street and shot me on that nice little road.
I always thought something like that would happen in a school. I never thought I'd be driving my car and somebody would step out in the street and shoot me.
In the ambulance I said, “You need to get a substitute for Laurelhurst Elementary for tomorrow.”
I want to make sure the kids know I'm okay, and I'll be back soon, and I love ’em. When you're 7 years old, and you have to process your teacher being shot, it's not OK. It'll be a day that sticks in their lives forever.
I worry about them because I know how scary it is for them. We practice those drills, and it's very traumatic for all of us. Kids are so traumatized by violence. I've been teaching 30 years, and America's kids are just so anxious. For them to have their teacher shot is ...
I started teaching in 1988. We didn’t have those drills then. I don't think they started until about 2000. We started with the lockdown drills and they were very traumatic. Try explaining to a first grader that it's serious and not scaring them to death.
It was three shots — shoulder, arm, bottom of the lung — and they didn't go all the way through. The surgeon said that if they were close to the skin, they would remove them, but otherwise they just leave them. I asked about infection and he said that bullets are so hot they’re sterile, and that they don't take them out of people anymore.
My family was joking that we have veterans in our family and nobody's ever gotten shot. Generations of veterans. But the schoolteacher got shot.
I have tickets to Vegas next Saturday, and tickets to see Aerosmith on Monday the 8th, so God willing I will be in Vegas next Saturday.
Recorded by Amy Radil, produced for the web by Isolde Raftery.