Police chief who led Texas school shooting response suspended | Gun Violence News

Native police have been beneath intense scrutiny over their response to the assault on the Robb Elementary College the place 19 youngsters and two academics have been shot useless by an 18-year-old gunman.

The top of the Uvalde faculty district police drive – who oversaw the response to the college taking pictures during which 19 youngsters and two academics have been killed final month in Texas – has been suspended.

Wednesday’s announcement got here a day after the top of Texas’ public security division known as the police response to the Might 24 assault on the Robb Elementary College an “abject failure”.

Native police have been beneath intense scrutiny because it emerged that as many as 19 officers waited for an hour outdoors a pair of adjoining school rooms the place the taking pictures was happening and did nothing as youngsters lay useless or dying inside.

A tactical workforce from the US Border Patrol lastly gained entry and killed the teenage gunman.

Police apply typically is to instantly confront a faculty attacker, even when it places officers’ lives at risk.

“From the start of this horrible occasion, I shared that the district would wait till the investigation was full earlier than making personnel selections,” Uvalde Consolidated Unbiased College District Superintendent Hal Harrell stated in an announcement.

“Due to the shortage of readability that continues to be and the unknown timing of when I’ll obtain the outcomes of the investigations, I’ve made the choice to position Chief (Pete) Arredondo on administrative depart efficient on this date.”

The assault on the first faculty, which is able to now be demolished, rocked america and as soon as once more revived the controversy about gun violence. The US Senate now seems to be near passing the nation’s first main gun management laws in a long time.

Arredondo, 49, has beforehand stated he didn’t think about himself the commander in cost on the scene of the assault and that he didn’t order officers to carry again. However he stated officers couldn’t discover a key to unlock the door till 77 minutes after the taking pictures started.

His lawyer, George Hyde, advised the Texas Tribune one other one of many native, state or federal businesses to reach on the scene ought to have taken over command.

However Steven McCraw, the top of the Texas Division of Public Security, stated Arredondo was in cost and made “horrible selections” that price worthwhile time. He labelled the response “an abject failure”.

McCraw advised a Texas Senate listening to on Tuesday that the door was unlocked and there was no proof officers tried to see if it was secured whereas others looked for a key. In the meantime, at the least two youngsters inside used their cell phones to name for assist.

Earlier on Wednesday, Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, sued the state’s Division of Public Security for entry to the entire information of the taking pictures, saying the response to the bloodbath “has been stuffed with misinformation and outright lies” from the beginning.

Texas workers travel to Uvalde to help after school shooting | Gun Violence News

Uvalde, Texas, US – Tracy Colton doesn’t know what to say.

“We’ve got members of the family are available to select up images of their kids who died,” stated the 47-year-old supervisor of the Walgreens pharmacy in downtown Uvalde. “What do you say to them? There’s nothing you may.”

Colton normally greets retailer patrons with, “Good morning, welcome to Walgreens. How are you immediately?”

However these simply aren’t the phrases you may say any extra, Colton informed Al Jazeera, simply days after 19 fourth-graders and two academics had been shot and killed at Robb Elementary Faculty on this close-knit Texas city within the deadliest faculty taking pictures in a decade in the US.

“I’ve hugged mother and father once they’ve are available,” Colton stated. “I’ve simply cried with them”

The shop is as busy as normal, she added, however virtually silent. “It’s so quiet. It’s simply so quiet.”

Memorial for victims
A memorial with crosses for the victims of the mass taking pictures at Robb Elementary Faculty has been erected exterior of the varsity [Veronica G Cardenas/Reuters]

Colton’s scenario is one small instance of how the tragedy has left residents’ lives modified on this small, predominately Latino city the place everybody appears to know somebody personally affected by the tragedy.

The heartbreak is palpable all over the place.

On Thursday, in what residents say is one other heartbreaking instance of the taking pictures’s impact on residents, Joe Garcia died of a coronary heart assault. His spouse of 24 years, Irma Garcia, was one of many two academics killed at Robb Elementary two days earlier than.

The aftershocks of the taking pictures are taking an emotional toll on everybody in Uvalde, Colton stated. “That is an emotional toll on all of our workers.”

The corporate’s ideas are with everybody affected, Fraser Engerman, Walgreens’ senior director of exterior relations, informed Al Jazeera in an electronic mail.

“We’re providing counseling companies and different care to our group members in Uvalde the place we have now a retailer very near the varsity. We’re additionally working intently with the local people donating provides and providing help to the households [affected],” Engerman wrote.

That is such a small neighborhood, everybody grew up with any individual concerned within the tragedy, Colton stated. “That’s why I’m so glad Walgreens workers from different shops … are coming to assist out,” she stated.

Dozens of Walgreens workers from shops in different Texas communities have travelled to the town to assist out, Colton stated, and workers of the Uvalde Walgreens have been capable of take time without work from work to be with family members and grieve.

Staff have come from San Antonio, New Braunfels, Laredo and Eagle Go, stated Aimee Lusson, director of pharmacy and retail for South Texas Walgreens shops.

“We’ve simply had an outpouring of assist — folks from as far-off as Dallas-Fort Value. We’ve had lots of people say I can come immediately,” stated Lusson, who travelled from San Antonio to be in Uvalde.

The scenario is analogous for the opposite chain eating places and shops that line Foremost Avenue — the central enterprise hub that bisects the city of 16,000 residents.

On Thursday, 18 of the 30 workers who had been working on the Uvalde Whataburger, a Texas-based quick meals restaurant chain, had been from different South Texas cities — largely from Eagle Go, Del Rio and San Antonio.

Interior of store
Chain-store workers from throughout Texas have travelled to Uvalde to provide native workers a break, together with one Starbucks employee who got here from virtually 332km away [John Savage/Al Jazeera]

“Man, it’s been so useful. We’ve been busy and we’re telling workers if they should go residence, to go residence, it doesn’t matter what,” stated a Whataburger worker who requested to stay nameless, citing firm coverage.

“We’ve bought quite a lot of highschool children who work right here, and so they want time to course of this,” he added.

On Friday, Ivan Montalvo, the 27-year-old supervisor of a Starbucks retailer in Eagle Go, a city on the US-Mexico border about 96km (60 miles) south of Uvalde, introduced a group of 10 worker volunteers to the Uvalde Starbucks to assist.

One employee got here from the Texas city of Victoria, virtually 332km (200 miles) away.

“We’re all right here to assist in any method we are able to,” Montalvo stated.

Colton stated that the assist is making a horrific scenario a bit of bit higher. “It reveals how a lot folks care.”

The 21 lives lost in Texas school shooting | Gun Violence News

Tales have begun to emerge concerning the 19 fourth-graders and their two lecturers who had been gunned down behind a barricaded door at their main college in Texas, shedding mild on the deep anguish their killing leaves behind.

One pupil was an avid runner. One other beloved baseball and video video games. One woman sensed one thing was improper and wished to skip college on Tuesday, when a teenaged gunman opened hearth at Robb Elementary Faculty in Uvalde, killing 21.

Vincent Salazar mentioned his 10-year-old daughter, Layla, beloved to swim and dance to Tik Tok videos. She was quick — she received six races on the college’s discipline day — and Salazar proudly posted a photograph of Layla displaying off two of her ribbons on Fb.

Every morning as he drove her to high school in his pickup, Salazar would play “Candy Youngster O’ Mine” by Weapons ‘n’ Roses and they’d sing alongside, he mentioned. “She was only a entire lot of enjoyable.”

The taking pictures has deeply shaken the small neighborhood of Uvalde, about 130km (80 miles) west of San Antonio, the place relations and mates are in a state of shock and mourning for the family members they misplaced.

All the lifeless had been in the identical fourth-grade classroom the place the shooter barricaded himself and opened hearth indiscriminately on the kids and their lecturers, Texas Governor Greg Abbott advised a information convention on Wednesday.

He mentioned the gunman used an AR-15-style, semi-automatic rifle within the assault and posted on Fb shortly earlier than the taking pictures, “I’m going to shoot an elementary college.”

Victims' parents and relatives walking with flowers in hand.
Folks stroll with flowers to honour the victims in Tuesday’s taking pictures [Jae C Hong/AP Photo]

‘Sweetest little boy’

Manny Renfro misplaced his 8-year-old grandson, Uziyah Garcia, within the assault.

“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever identified,” Renfro mentioned. “I’m not simply saying that as a result of he was my grandkid.”

Veronica Luevanos, whose 10-year-old daughter Jailah Nicole Silguero was among the many victims, tearfully advised Univision that her daughter didn’t wish to go to high school on Tuesday and appeared to sense one thing dangerous was going to occur. Jailah’s cousin additionally died within the taking pictures.

Trainer Eva Mireles, 44, was remembered as a loving mom and spouse. “She was adventurous … She is unquestionably going to be very missed,” mentioned 34-year-old relative Amber Ybarra, of San Antonio.

Amongst these additionally left to grieve had been relations of 10-year-old Eliahna Garcia.

“She was very completely happy and really outgoing,” mentioned Eliahna’s aunt, Siria Arizmendi, a fifth-grade instructor at Flores Elementary Faculty in the identical college district. “She beloved to bounce and play sports activities. She was massive into household, loved being with the household.”

Jose Flores Jr, 10, beloved baseball and video video games, his father Jose Flores Sr advised CNN. “He was all the time stuffed with power,” Flores mentioned. “Able to play ’til the evening.” He was a fantastic massive brother to his two youthful siblings, his father mentioned.

Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, Texas, mourned the dying of her 10-year-old cousin, Xavier Javier Lopez, who had been eagerly awaiting a summer season of swimming.

“He was only a loving … little boy, simply having fun with life, not realizing that this tragedy was going to occur,” she mentioned. “He was very bubbly, beloved to bounce along with his brothers, his mother. This has simply taken a toll on all of us.”

Garza lamented what she described as lax gun legal guidelines. “We should always have extra restrictions, particularly if these children aren’t of their proper way of thinking and all they wish to do is simply harm individuals, particularly harmless kids going to the colleges,” Garza mentioned.

Tributes pour in

Within the hours after the taking pictures, photos of smiling kids had been posted on social media with tributes and prayers.

Religion Mata wrote a publish for her little sister, Tess Marie Mata, 10, on Twitter. “My treasured angel you’re beloved so deeply,” she wrote. “I really like you all the time and previous without end child sister, could your wings soar greater than you can ever dream.”

Kadence Elizabeth, the older sister of Makenna Lee Elrod, 10, wrote: “All I ask is that you simply hug your family members tonight and inform them you like them, you by no means know whenever you received’t have the prospect to anymore.”

And 10-year-old Ellie Garcia’s father, Steven, wrote on his Fb web page, “Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever.”

Faculties Superintendent Hal Harrell fought again tears on Wednesday as he spoke of the kids and their lecturers.

“You possibly can simply inform by their angelic smiles that they had been beloved,” Harrell mentioned of the kids throughout a information convention. “That they beloved coming to high school, that they had been simply treasured people.”

The 2 lecturers “poured their coronary heart and soul” into their work, Harrell additionally mentioned.

‘Complete evil’: New details of deadly Texas shooting released | Gun Violence News

The gunman who opened hearth at a main college in Texas, killing 19 kids and two academics, barricaded himself in a classroom and “started taking pictures anybody that was in his method”, a Texas official has mentioned, because the assault continues to gasoline requires gun management in the US.

Lieutenant Chris Olivarez, a spokesman for the Texas Division of Public Security, advised NBC on Wednesday that the teenaged suspect entered a classroom at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde and commenced firing at college students and workers.

“The shooter was in a position to make entry right into a classroom, barricaded himself inside that classroom and once more, simply started taking pictures quite a few kids and academics who have been in that classroom, having no regard for human life – only a full evil individual,” Olivarez advised the US information outlet.

Olivarez mentioned legislation enforcement officers who first arrived on the college in Uvalde, a small neighborhood about 130km (80 miles) west of San Antonio, have been met with gunfire and couldn’t instantly enter the constructing.

“A few of these officers have been shot. At that time, they started breaking home windows across the college, attempting to evacuate kids, academics, anyone they might – attempting to get them out of that constructing that college,” he mentioned.

Ultimately, officers have been in a position to enter the barricaded classroom and the suspect was fatally shot, Olivarez mentioned.

Tuesday’s assault was the deadliest college taking pictures within the US in a decade. It has spurred widespread public anger and renewed requires US lawmakers to enact stricter gun management laws.

US President Joe Biden additionally has known as on Congress to “arise” to highly effective gun foyer teams, who for years have opposed efforts on the state and federal ranges to place gun management measures in place.

“All Texans should come collectively in assist [of] the households who’ve been affected by this horrific tragedy. What they want now greater than ever is our love,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott mentioned throughout a information convention on Wednesday afternoon, praising legislation enforcement for his or her response.

“They confirmed superb braveness, by working in the direction of gunfire for the singular function of attempting to save lots of lives,” he mentioned.

INTERACTIVE Texas primary school shooting
(Al Jazeera)

However critics have identified that Texas has a few of the least restrictive gun legal guidelines within the US. In 2015, Abbott mentioned he was “embarrassed” that Texas was ranked second within the nation in new gun purchases after California. “Let’s choose up the tempo Texans,” he tweeted.

Abbott, a Republican, is about to talk on the annual assembly of the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation (NRA) annual assembly, which begins on Friday in Houston, Texas. Former US President Donald Trump and Republican Senator Ted Cruz are additionally anticipated to talk through the occasion.

“Governor Abbott, you probably have any decency, you’ll instantly withdraw from this weekend’s NRA conference and urge them to carry it anyplace however Texas,” Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat working for governor in Texas, wrote on Twitter.

O’Rourke briefly interrupted Abbott’s information convention on Wednesday. “You might be doing nothing,” he will be heard saying, in keeping with a video shared on social media.

Al Jazeera has reached out to the NRA about its plan to carry the weekend occasion in Texas, however has not but obtained a response.

Authorities have mentioned the gunman’s motive has not but been decided.

Through the information convention, Abbott mentioned the knowledge gathered to date signifies that the assailant, who authorities mentioned lived together with his grandparents in Uvalde, shot his grandmother within the face earlier than fleeing in a automotive and finally getting into the varsity after a crash.

The governor mentioned the gunman had posted on Fb about half-hour earlier than he reached Robb Elementary College that he supposed to shoot his grandmother. “The second submit was, ‘I shot my grandmother,’” Abbott mentioned.

“The third submit, possibly lower than quarter-hour earlier than arriving on the college, was, ‘I’m going to shoot an elementary college.’”

Spokespeople for Fb’s mum or dad firm, Meta Platforms, mentioned they have been non-public messages found after the taking pictures. The corporate declined to say who obtained the messages or which of Meta’s platforms, comparable to Messenger or Instagram, was used to ship them.

In the meantime, again in Uvalde, the family members of these killed are grappling with insurmountable loss.

For Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, instructing fourth graders at Robb Elementary was one of many joys of their lives. Family briefed by police mentioned Garcia and Mireles died on Tuesday attempting to guard their college students after the gunman burst into their classroom.

Garcia, a married mom of 4 who taught at Robb Elementary for 23 years, was a “candy, sort, loving” trainer who thought-about her college students to be household, her relations mentioned. “She handed away with kids in her arms attempting to guard them,” her nephew John Martinez wrote on Twitter. “These weren’t simply her college students they have been her youngsters as effectively.”

The daughter of Mireles penned a tribute to her mom on Wednesday, which was to have been almost the final day of the varsity 12 months.

“I don’t know the way to do that life with out you, however I’ll care for dad. I’ll care for our canine and I’ll endlessly say your title so you’re at all times remembered, Eva Mireles, 4th grade trainer at Robb Elementary who selflessly jumped in entrance of her college students to save lots of their lives,” Adalynn Ruiz wrote on Fb.

14 children, 1 teacher killed in Texas school shooting: Governor | Gun Violence News

At the least 14 schoolchildren and one instructor have been killed in a taking pictures at a major faculty within the US state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott stated, within the newest mass taking pictures in the US.

Talking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Abbott stated an 18-year-old gunman opened fireplace at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, a small group simply over an hour west of San Antonio.

“He shot and killed – horrifically, incomprehensibly – 14 college students and killed one instructor,” Abbott stated.

Abbott stated the gunman was himself killed, apparently by law enforcement officials responding to the scene.

“The shooter was … an 18-year-old male who resided in Uvalde. It’s believed that he deserted his car and entered into the Robb Elementary College in Uvalde with a handgun and he could have additionally had a rifle, however that isn’t but confirmed,” the governor stated.

Uvalde Memorial Hospital had stated on Fb earlier on Tuesday that 13 youngsters had been transferred there for therapy. It stated two folks had been deceased on arrival.

Gun violence has been an issue throughout the US for many years, drawing condemnation and requires more durable restrictions, particularly within the aftermath of mass shootings at colleges.

The US reported 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up almost 35 % in comparison with 2019, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) stated in its newest knowledge.

The nation has seen 212 mass shootings to date this 12 months, in keeping with a tally by the Gun Violence Archive, a US non-profit that defines a mass taking pictures as any incident through which 4 or extra persons are shot or killed, not together with the attacker.

The taking pictures in Uvalde drew condemnation and sorrow on social media, in addition to renewed requires motion to stem gun violence within the nation.

“We stay in a society the place energy completely refuses to guard our youngsters. What number of extra children must die earlier than energy makes radical adjustments to those horrific circumstances?” US creator and professor Ibram X Kendi wrote on Twitter.

“We’re a damaged nation, filled with violence. It’s simply sickening to suppose that children who went to high school this morning is not going to come again house tonight,” stated College of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler.

a school employee talks to someone in a school bus in Uvalde, Texas
A college worker talks by way of the window of a faculty bus to one of many mother and father close to the scene of the taking pictures in Uvalde, Could 24, 2022 [Marco Bello/Reuters]

The Uvalde Consolidated Unbiased College District (UCISD) tweeted that “all district and campus actions, after-school packages, and occasions are canceled” following the lethal assault.

In a information convention shared on Fb, Uvalde CISD police chief Pete Arredondo stated the incident started at roughly 11:32am native time at Robb Elementary College. He stated the college has college students in grades two, three and 4.

“I can affirm proper now that we’ve got a number of accidents, adults and college students, and we do have some deaths. The suspect is deceased,” Arredondo stated. “At this level, the investigation is main to inform us that the suspect did act alone throughout this heinous crime.”

He added that officers had been notifying affected households.

In the meantime, in Washington White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated President Joe Biden had been briefed “on the horrific information” in south Texas.

“His prayers are with the households impacted by this terrible occasion, and he’ll converse this night when he arrives again on the White Home,” Jean-Pierre tweeted. Biden had been in Japan and South Korea on his first tour of the area since taking workplace in January of final 12 months.

The US president has denounced mass shootings as a “nationwide embarrassment” and promised to enact stricter gun rules. However Biden faces an uphill battle towards gun foyer teams and legislators who’re against extra restrictive gun legal guidelines.

Final month, Biden unveiled a brand new US Division of Justice rule that he stated would crack down on the prevalence of so-called “ghost weapons” – privately-made firearms with out serial numbers that legislation enforcement companies discover at crime scenes.

On the similar time, he urged Congress “to do its job” and move finances allocations and different laws to cut back gun crime.

The college taking pictures in Uvalde is the newest in a string of lethal acts of gun violence over the previous two weeks within the US.

A gunman attacked a grocery retailer in a predominantly Black neighbourhood of Buffalo, New York, on Could 14, killing 10 folks, whereas in California that very same weekend, a person opened fireplace on Taiwanese-American church congregants, killing one man.

There have been 61 “lively shooter” incidents within the US in 2021, in keeping with newly launched FBI knowledge – a 52 % enhance from the earlier 12 months and the very best on report.