Cleveland Elementary shooting survivors react to judge striking down assault weapons ban


STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – Survivors of the Cleveland Elementary School shooting are speaking out after a federal judge struck down California’s assault weapons ban.

Rob Young was just over 6 years old and a first-grader at the school when a gunman opened fire on fellow students as they played in the schoolyard.

“I was shot through my right foot, I also have a large piece of bullet fragment in my chest to this day,” Young said. “I knew two of the girls that were killed. And then the young boy that was killed, he was just a matter of feet from me when he got hit. I actually saw him go down.”

In the end, the gunman shot and killed five schoolchildren and wounded 32 others before turning the gun on himself.

It was the first mass shooting of schoolchildren in America. 

“It’s devastating to survivors everywhere and to families, as well,” said Judy Weldon. 

Weldon was a teacher at the Stockton school during the shooting. She and five other former teachers witnessed the massacre unfold, helping students who were hit and those who ran from the gunman.

The deadly scenario is one the country has seen happen numerous times since the Cleveland Elementary shooting in 1989.

“These are people who are losing their lives on a daily basis now and it hurts,” said retired Stockton police officer D.T. Martin.

Martin was also there that day as one of the responding police officers who rushed to the scene.

Both Weldon and Martin say the recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez that reverses the ban of assault weapons was a bad decision.

“Please Mr. Benitez, Judge Benitez, put yourself in the shoes of any of those survivors. And think how your life would be changed forever,” Weldon said.

They say assault-type weaponry and ammo have devastating effects which carry further and tear through neighborhoods.

“And that’s exactly what happened in Stockton. They went through the classroom and these rounds winded up in houses across the street,” Martin explained.

But for Young, who is now a sergeant in a Northern California police department, he says the judge did the right thing.

“I believe that this ruling this week, was a huge step in the right direction,” Young told FOX40.

He says there are no gun laws that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

“Let’s start enforcing the laws that are on the books, that were created to protect you and I,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways.”

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