When a gunman entered an elementary school in Uwald, Texas, last week and started firing, one student said his teacher – wounded by bullets – had to write 911 for help after a phone call failed.
9-year-old Daniel along with his mother Brianna Ruiz told CNN that a gunman fired several shots in his class at Robb Elementary School because he was unable to enter. The door was closed by his teacher, and the bullets fired hit the teacher as well as a classmate.
Daniel began “hiding under a table by the wall” and said he could see an armed man through the door window.
“I could still see his face,” he said. “I saw him looking at the people in front of me.”
Later, Daniel climbed out of the broken window to escape, cut his hand against the glass, he said, and two wounded in his class survived. However, his cousin Eli Garcia was in another class and was one of them 19 children and two teachers killed in a shooting.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has laid out the schedule Tuesday’s shooting, showing that an armed man had been in a classroom with students for more than an hour before being killed by a Tactical Response Team of the Border Patrol. But questions remain as to whether there was a reaction from law enforcement timely enough to prevent further casualties.
This was announced by the US Department of Justice at the request of Mayor Uwalde he will conduct an investigation in the circumstances of the shooting.
“The purpose of the review is to ensure independent accounting of law enforcement actions and responses on this day, as well as to identify lessons and best practices to help rapid response services prepare for and respond to active shooting events,” the Justice Department said in a statement on Sunday. .
Alfred Garcia, whose daughter was killed in the shooting, told CNN he “did not believe” how long it was during the shooting before it ended, and shared his disappointment with the authorities’ reaction.
“You don’t have to be ingenious to realize that it just took too long to get there, and you know, if they had come earlier and someone had taken immediate action, we could have more of these kids here today, including my daughter, ”he said.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Uwalde On Sunday, pay tribute to them by attending Mass and laying flowers to the memorial to the fallen. They also met in person with family members of the victims as well as with the emergency services.
Funeral services for the victims are due to begin on Monday, and funeral homes in Uwalde have committed to reimbursing families.
The reaction of law enforcement agencies questioned
The actions taken by the rapid reaction services – or lack thereof – during the shooting were the focus of those who said more needed to be done earlier.
Texas law enforcement officers have been trained to intervene quickly, according to instructions for active shooters in CNN’s 2020 law enforcement textbook, which states that “the officer’s first priority is to move and resist the attacker.”
“As employees of the first service, we must recognize that the innocent life must be protected,” it said. “A lover of first aid who does not want to put the lives of the innocent above their own safety must consider another area of their career.”
Seven officers arrived on the scene two minutes after the shooter fired in class. Three officers approached a closed class where an armed man was, and two officers were injured by bullets fired from outside the door, according to the traffic police. The officers then settled down the corridor.
Border guard agents belonging to a specialized unit arrived at the scene around 12:15 – about 45 minutes after the militant started firing. The officer in charge had already made a decision that the subject was barricaded in the room, according to a source familiar with the situation.
After that, the team did not break into the class for at least another 30 minutes, according to the schedule provided by DPS. Since border patrols often play a supporting role, they will, according to the source, be handed over to the agency on command.
On call 911 at 12:16, according to the traffic police, a girl from one of the classes where students were shot, told the operator that eight or nine students are still alive.
Asked on Friday why officers had not arrived earlier, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Stephen McCroe said he “at the time believed the item stood still and barricaded”, adding that they believed “there is no risk to other children”.
“From where I’m sitting now, it’s clear that there were children in the room, it’s clear that they’re at risk,” McCrow said. “Children who may have been shot but injured may be injured, and to save lives it is important to get there immediately and provide assistance.”
The community is coming together
After the shooting, there is massive support from the community.
Carlos Hernandez, whose restaurant is a mile from Robb Elementary, wrote on Facebook hours after the shooting: “I can’t open my kitchen with a broken heart and enjoy it.”
On Thursday, his 33rd birthday, Hernandez decided to prepare food for the community by cooking his favorite dishes, including wings, poppy seeds with cheese and tacos from fried fish.
In two hours, Hernandez handed out more than 60 plates to the family to feed grieving families and neighbors who are still learning to cope with the tragedy caused by their cohesive community.
“The situation is really difficult, I’m just trying to show the children that we have their foundations and support systems,” Hernandez told CNN. “We always provide, whether there is an incident or not.”
Elsewhere, the Uwalde Memorial Library of El Progress has become a place of recovery.
On Wednesday, just a day after the shooting, children’s librarian Martha Carreon sat in front of rows of little faces, reading, singing and giggling with the children, taking them to safety, away from school, where many witnessed the horror.
“We want our building to be a safe place, a haven, a quiet, peaceful and cool haven,” Mendel Morgan, director of the El Progress Memorial Library, told CNN.
Along with psychologists, with whom it will be possible to talk with children and adults every weekday, there will be masseurs, volunteers engaged in arts and crafts, pianists who play soothing music, and even magicians who will hold professional magic shows.
“It’s a strong community where we really care about each other,” Morgan said. “Many, if not most, are firm in their faith, believing in God that good is stronger than evil and light is stronger than darkness.”
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