UVALDE, TEXAS — As families in this rural town prepare to bury the 19 children and two adults gunned down in a brutal school massacre this week, they are not only shocked by the devastation the gunman wreaked, but also from the revelation that, from their point of view, those who swore to protect and serve them did exactly the opposite.
“While those babies were dying in there, they were standing there with their thumbs up, trying to figure out what to do,” said Roger Garza, a family friend of teacher Irma Garcia, who was killed by the gunman trying to do it to protect their fourth graders.
“I mean, don’t we pay them to come in and protect people? Someone needs to be held accountable for this,” Garza told The Daily Beast.
Tragically, Irma’s husband, Joe Garcia, died of a heart attack the day after the shooting. Garza, who worked with Joe Garcia, believes Joe died of a broken heart, as did the rest of the family.
“I went to mass with Joe and Irma every Sunday and they made me a better person,” Garza said. “Peter has to answer for his actions and come up and speak to us,” he said, referring to Peter Arradondo, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated ISD Police Department, who was the first incident commander on Tuesday when the killings took place. The Daily Beast has made numerous attempts to contact Arradondo but has been unable to reach him. Nobody else in this community is looking for answers.
“I know they were scared, but so were those babies,” said Suzie Morales, who used to work at Robb Elementary School and knew the two adult victims very well. “Get up and get in there and shoot the bad guy.”
Morales and Garza’s comments come after Friday’s revelations that even the most basic protocols for an active shooting situation at the school were not being followed. Texas Department of Safety Director Steven McCraw admitted at a news conference Friday that authorities made “the wrong decision” in delaying the confrontation with the shooter and leaving the children at his mercy for more than 40 minutes before tactical units finally responded shot him . In another shattering admission, McCraw said more than a dozen police officers actually stood in a school corridor even as frantic emergency calls were made from the beleaguered classroom.
“With these kids sitting in there with this madman, up to 19 officers had to think about what to do.”
— Ignacio Perez
“We were waiting outside screaming that we were going to go in and storm the classroom,” said Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grade daughter Jacklyn Cazares was killed in the attack. “I came running and the police were panicking trying to figure out what to do. Now we know that children, including my daughter, died there. That hurts. Knowing that maybe they could have protected her and the other kids.”
Cazares wants to know why they didn’t do anything; That’s a question everyone is asking here.
“While these kids were sitting in there with this madman, up to 19 officers had to think about what to do,” said Ignacio Perez, who did his best to comfort Cazares. “I promise you, these parents had a plan and were ready to act on it. where was the courage With these children. There it was.”
Equally perplexing to families is why Chief Arradondo was unable to use some sort of master key to open the classroom door after discovering it was locked. McCraw told reporters Friday that border patrol officers would need to obtain a key from a janitor before they could access the classrooms.
“I have a feeling they’re setting this up so that law enforcement will run off like heroes, and some of them are,” Garza said. “But the others who didn’t do anything are nothing but cowards. The parents were braver and at least had an idea of what to do.”
Cazares wants answers and no more excuses.
“I appreciate that they at least tell us what happened, knowing it would make us even angrier,” he said. “I just want to know that my little girl didn’t die while they stood there doing nothing. I mean nothing but think.”
“Why did you wait so long?” said Cazares. “You will be able to go home to your family and mine will never come home again.”
Amid growing outrage over the botched police response, authorities in Uvalde have reportedly called in reinforcements from across the state to protect local officers from potential threats.
The additional police officers from various agencies in other jurisdictions will complement Uvalde’s ranks for an indefinite period of time and also provide security for the mayor, Texas Police Chiefs Association officials told CBS DFW.
In the immediate aftermath of the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School, Gov. Greg Abbott commended the police response, insisting that officers acted heroically and saved numerous lives. But he lashed out in anger when another narrative later surfaced, saying he was “angry” at being “led astray”. Federal agents at the scene said no one seemed to be responsible, and at one point distressed parents waiting outside considered rushing to the school themselves.
A police officer from Uvalde claimed there was “almost a mutiny,” he said persons Magazine that he and his colleagues “felt like cowards” for not storming the building sooner.
“It was the most frustrating situation of my entire career,” said the unnamed officer, adding, “It felt cowardly to stand back and let this punk, this kid, this 18-year-old asshole just go in and do what he wanted to do. There was a lot of fighting, a lot of cursing, a lot of people saying we should just say shit and go in, but then what? We had to have a plan and the Commander had no plan.”
In an interview Friday afternoon, a Robb elementary school teacher who survived the massacre told The Daily Beast that she places her blame specifically on the gunman, who authorities have identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.
“The only person I blame is the person who came to my school and killed my friends,” said Nicole Ogburn. “That’s the only person I’m going to blame because mistakes are made in any panic situation.”
Ogburn, who was born in Uvalde and attended Robb Elementary like her own two children, said she feels protective of her hometown as her police force is berated by the press and on social media.
“Stop beating up and putting people down because first and foremost they’re just trying to blame someone,” Ogburn said. “And the only person I blame is this young man and I won’t name his name because he doesn’t deserve to be remembered. And he is. He’ll be remembered, his name is out there, his face is out there. But I won’t let his name come out of my mouth.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/nothing-more-than-cowards-uvalde-victims-families-say-cops-need-to-pay?source=articles&via=rss The families of the victims of Uvalde say the police must pay