Texas school shooting: 9-year-old says he escaped through window as anger mounts over law enforcement response
Daniel, 9, alongside his mother, Briana Ruiz, told CNN the shooter fired multiple shots into his classroom at Robb Elementary after he was unable to enter. The door had been locked by his teacher and the bullets fired hit the teacher and a classmate.
Daniel began “hiding under a table next to the wall” and said he could see the shooter through the door window.
“I could still see his face,” he said. “I could see him staring at the people in front of me.”
“The purpose of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare. and to respond to active shooting events,” the DOJ said in a statement Sunday. .
Alfred Garcia, whose daughter was killed in the shooting, told CNN he was “in disbelief” at how long the shooting took before it ended and shared his frustration with the authorities’ response.
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it took too long to get in there and, you know, if they had come sooner, and someone would have taken immediate action, we might have more of these children here today, including my daughter,” he said.
Funerals for the victims are scheduled to begin on Monday and Uvalde Funeral Homes have pledged to cover the costs for the families.
Law enforcement response questioned
The actions taken by first responders – or lack thereof – during filming have been at the center of those who say more should have been done sooner.
Law enforcement officers in Texas are trained to respond quickly, according to active shooter guidelines in the state’s 2020 Law Enforcement Commission training manual obtained by CNN, which states that “the An officer’s first priority is to go in and confront the attacker”.
“As first responders, we must recognize that innocent life must be defended,” he says. “A first responder who does not want to put the lives of innocent people above their own safety should consider another career field.”
Seven officers arrived on the scene less than two minutes after the shooter fired into the classroom. Three officers approached the locked classroom where the shooter was, and two officers were grazed by bullets fired from behind the door, DPS said. Officers then moved to the hallway.
The team then did not enter the classroom for at least another 30 minutes, according to the schedule provided by DPS. Because Border Patrol often plays a supporting role, it will defer to the agency on command, the source said.
A 911 call made at 12:16 p.m., according to the DPS, from a girl in one of the classrooms where students were shot told the operator that eight or nine students were still alive.
When asked on Friday why officers hadn’t moved in sooner, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said “it was believed at the time that the subject was immobile and barricaded. ‘, adding that they thought ‘there was no risk to other children’.
“Looking back from where I’m sitting right now – there were clearly kids in the room, they’re clearly at risk,” McCraw said. “There may be children who are injured, who may have been shot but injured and it is important, in order to save lives, to immediately go to the scene and provide assistance.”
The community comes together
In the aftermath of the shooting, an outpouring of support for community members is provided.
Carlos Hernandez, whose restaurant is a mile from Robb Elementary, wrote on Facebook hours after the shooting, “There’s no way I’m going to open my kitchen with a broken heart and have fun doing it.”
On Thursday — his 33rd birthday — Hernandez decided to cook for the community, whipping up favorite dishes including wings, mac and cheese and fried fish tacos.
Within two hours, Hernandez had distributed more than 60 family-sized platters to feed grieving families and neighbors still learning to cope with the tragedy inflicted on their tight-knit community.
“It’s a really tough situation, I’m just trying to show the kids that they have us as a backbone and a support system,” Hernandez told CNN. “We always deliver whether there is an incident or no incident.”
Elsewhere in Uvalde, the El Progreso Memorial Library has become a place of healing.
On Wednesday, just a day after the shooting, children’s librarian Martha Carreon sat in front of rows of little faces, reading, singing and laughing with the children, taking them to a safe place away from school where many them became witnesses to the horror.
“We want our building to be a safe space, a refuge that is a haven of peace, calm and coolness,” Mendell Morgan, director of the El Progreso Memorial Library, told CNN.
In addition to psychologists who will be available every day of the week for children and adults to talk to, there will also be massage therapists, volunteers for arts and crafts activities, pianists to play soothing music and even magicians to organize professional magic shows.
“It’s a strong community where we really care about each other,” Morgan said. “Many, if not most here, cling to their faith believing in God, that good is stronger than evil and that light is stronger than darkness.”
CNN’s Alaa Elassar, Ed Lavandera, Amanda Watts, Hannah Sarisohn, Virginia Langmaid, Paula Reid, Priscilla Alvarez, Christina Maxouris, Holly Yan and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.