A Uvalde police officer was detained and disarmed when he tried to rescue his wife from Robb Elementary school after she called to tell him that she had been shot and was dying, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) revealed this week. A teen gunman fatally shot 19 students and two teachers at the school on May 24.
According to DPS Director Col. Steven McCraw, Eva Mireles, a teacher at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas called her police officer husband Ruben Ruiz after she was shot inside the school. When Ruiz arrived on scene with his gun in an attempt to save his dying wife, his fellow officers disarmed him and escorted him away from the school.
“We got an officer, Officer Ruiz, whose wife had called him and said she (had) been shot and she’s dying,” McCraw said during Texas Senate’s hearing on the massacre’s police response. “What happened to him as he tried to move forward into the hallway, he was detained and they took his gun away from him and escorted him off the scene.”
The police response was riddled with misinformation, McCraw said, explaining that officers were told during the incident that “the subject is contained” and that “the chief is in the classroom or the office negotiating or talking to the subject.”
McCraw slammed the police response to the shooting, calling it an “abject failure” during which the “lives of officers” were put “before the lives of children.”
“Three minutes after the suspect entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, cistract, and neutralize the subject,” he said. “The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111, and 112, was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
“The officers had weapons, the children had none. The officers had body armor, the children had none,” McCraw continued. “There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine Massacre.”
During his testimony, McCraw revealed that officers never actually checked to see if the classroom door was locked while the gunman carried out his massacre. Surveillance video showed officers never put a hand on the door, McCraw said, and officers who ultimately breached the classroom said they never tried to open the door handle beforehand, and it was later determined the door couldn’t even be locked from the inside.
McCraw asserted that Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department Chief Pete Arredondo – who blamed the delayed response on the supposedly locked door – waited for a key to the classroom “that was never needed.”
Arrendondo was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday.