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As shooting continued at Texas school, officers questioned commander’s decision to wait – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2022-05-28 21:57:00 –

Uvalde, Texas >> From the first few minutes after the shooters started shooting, the officers landed at Robb Elementary School. Local police in the town of Yuvarde. Acting for the county sheriff. Agent from the Federal Border Patrol.

However, at the scene on Tuesday, the agency that controls the number of police officers who would be the most deadly school shootings has not increased since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School 10 years ago.

It fell to the head of a small police station created just four years ago to provide security at eight schools in Yuvalde. According to state police, its chief, Pedro Aledondo, was in two adjacent classrooms where the shooter had already fired more than 100 rounds on the wall and the door and horror fourth grader were trapped with him. I ordered the police who gathered to postpone the attack. ..

Important by Arredondo, a veteran officer in several divisions who won the elections to the city council two weeks before the shooting when Yuvalde rushed into a holiday weekend with roadside prayers, free public barbecues, and all-night Saturday nights. Attention was focused on the decision.

As more became known about their frustration with the protracted turmoil of Tuesday’s shootings, it became more apparent that some law enforcement officers on the scene disagreed with the decision to refrain from Saturday.

A specially trained agent from the Border Patrol, who arrived more than 40 minutes after the shooting began, shouted for permission to enter and confront the shooter. “What’s your problem?” They asked, according to the official briefing on the answer.

In the classroom, classmates quietly called 911 over and over again with dead children, sometimes begging dispatchers to send police to rescue them.

Roland Gutierrez, who represents the region of the State Senate, told him that one family member of the murdered child had told him that his daughter had been struck by a bullet on her back and shed blood. “If they were working, she could have been saved,” Gutierrez said.

Eventually, the police officers gathered outside got permission to enter the classroom. A team of tactical officers from border guards and local police agencies broke the door and killed 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos after killing 19 children and two teachers.

The decision to wait appeared to agents at the time and many subsequent police experts as different from the practices practiced in the national sector for 20 years since the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. rice field. ..

Chuck Wexler, head of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank, said: “There are still ambiguous departments in this country about this policy.”

Others, including those who provided active shooter training, advised that hurrying is not always the best approach. “When the story was finally told, he did exactly what they were trained on and was based on practical experience in the fog of war,” for Texas police officers and school districts. John Michael Keys, who is actively training in shooters, said. Of Aledondo.

In the first few minutes of the attack, two police officers from the Yuvarde police station were shot through a locked door to the classroom and returned to the hallway with grazing wounds.

Police officers, under Aledondo’s instructions, barricades demand a slower approach from those with active shooters who demand that the situation immediately attack the shooter, even before rescuing other children. It was said that it had evolved into something with a barricade, officials said.

According to Stephen McLaugh, director of the state police, it seemed to be a false assessment. Firearms can be heard sporadically in the room, including continuing to call the 911 by children.

Part of the shooting and police response investigation included whether Arredondo knew about the incoming 911 call, and according to the official briefing on the investigation, communications were made during a chaotic and deadly event. It suggests that it may be disrupted. By Texas Rangers.

Investigators were also investigating during the standoffs whether attempts were made to take command of the case from Aledondo.

Former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikouske, who later headed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said he was surprised to hear that the school district police chief, who had only six police officers, was the commander of the shooting. ..

The school grounds may have been the jurisdiction of the district, but Kerlikowske said he would have expected the district to promptly postpone management to city police who would have more experience in serious cases. rice field. He said city police could pass control to agencies such as the Texas Department of Public Safety after being installed on the scene.

However, Kerlikowske said he could see situations where larger agencies could enter and pressure the early commanders to relinquish control.

Brandon Judd, head of the Border Patrol Council, a union of agents, said border patrol agents would never have tried to take command on their own.

“Every training given has a case commander, who has the authority to make all decisions,” Judd said on Saturday. He said that was what they were trained to do. And when agents arrived long after the situation began, he said it was even more important for them to follow the chain of command.

Border guard agents arriving at the chaotic scene on Tuesday were surprised that there were no specially equipped and trained police officers from the local police station capable of attacking the classroom, familiar with the federal response. Officials said.

The Yuvalde police have employed about 40 sworn officers in recent years, using some of their members as a type of SWAT team, often used for drug attacks. It was not clear why the border patrol team, 40 minutes away by car, was asked to lead the assault instead.

State Senator Gutierrez said the response failure probably extended beyond the decision of a small police station.

“Is there a way to blame the police chief of the school district with six police officers?” Gutierrez said. “Everyone failed here.”

Some of the first 911 shooter calls on Tuesday’s loose Tuesday were from nearby homes, not from school. A shooter who lived with his grandmother several streets away shot her face — a bullet hit near her right eye — and with his weapon, two AR-15-style rifles. I ran away to school.

Two retired neighbors, Maria and Gilbert Galegos, who were outside at the time, heard two gunshots directly across the street. Suddenly, the shooter jumped out of the front door with his backpack and duffel bag and into his grandmother’s pickup truck.

“He didn’t know how to drive,” said the couple’s son, Gilbert Galegos. “He was just pushing down on the gas and just spinning. Finally, he was peeling off and the tires were throwing pebbles here and there.”

At that point, he said, the shooter’s grandmother, Celia Martinez Gonzalez, left her house, her way of walking was stable, but her face was bleeding. rice field.

“She tells my parents in Spanish,’See what happened,'” Gilbert Galegos said. Maria Galegos called 911 — first at 11:33 am, then two minutes later. Soon after, police arrived and ambulances followed.

He said his parents were able to hear gunshots in the area of ​​Robb Elementary School, even before they arrived.

Aledondo did not respond to multiple requests for comment on his division’s reaction to the shooting. Nor was it the Chief of the Yuvarde Police Department, Daniel Rodriguez, or a few other school district and school district leaders.

In many cities across the country, including New York, city police supervise police officers patrol schools. School districts throughout Texas have their own independent police stations.

The Yuvalde Integrated School District Police Station was established only four years ago. Prior to that, the city police station provided school officers, said then-Chairman Mickey Gerdes. However, districts and departments were unable to overcome schedule conflicts and cost debates.

Part of the switch decision was in response to the desire to increase school shootings and increase school security, Gerdes said. (When the attack began on Tuesday, there were no school police officers assigned to Robb Elementary School on campus.)

Aledondo began leading the division in early 2020, a month before the pandemic.

He worked as Chief Executive Officer of the Uvalde Police Station along the border and the Security Office of Webb County. Prior to returning to Yuvarde, Aledondo led the school district police in the border city of Laredo, and from the time he was at the county sheriff’s office he had a reputation for being “a tough man in law enforcement, not nonsense.” did. Laredo’s political consultant.

Over the two years of Arredondo, he expanded a small rank in the division, adding two executives last year.

Also, over the last two years, the school district has provided at least two trainings on how to deal with gunners fired at school.

Gerdes, a former school board president, said he had known Arredondo for over 20 years. He said he was afraid that the criticisms directed at the shootings on Tuesday reflected his desire for a scapegoat. “He’s a good person,” Gerdes said. “He is a decent person.”

However, revelations about how late police officers entered the classroom have caused anger around Yuvarde and are seeking clarification.

Jay Martin, 48, who lives near the school, said he rushed to the scene with his friend after he first heard the gunshot.

His daughter, now 12 years old, was once a student of Eva Millerez and one of the teachers was killed, he said on Saturday standing at the memorial to the victims of the Central Square.

“Why did it take so long? It’s part of being a police officer and ordering your life for someone else,” he said.

Now he added, “There are a lot of ferocious people.”


This article was originally New York Times..




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