'We want answers': Parents of massacre victims slam Texas school board06/05/2022
‘We want answers’: Furious parents of Texas massacre victims slam Uvalde school board for shutting them out of meetings, not sacking police chief and staying quiet on security at entrances
- Parents have slammed the Uvalde school board over its response to the massacre at Robb Elementary School that left 19 kids and two teachers dead
- The parents said they were ‘disappointed’ the district failed to punish the school police chief who refused to send cops into the building during the rampage
- Uvalde resident Angela Turner called the school board a ‘joke’ and said ‘we want answers to where the security is going to take place’
- Congressman Joaquin Castro echoed her concern, saying it was ‘odd and disturbing’ the school board didn’t take action against the chief
- He has also asked the FBI to take the lead on the investigation into law enforcement’s response to the shooting
Outraged parents are demanding action after the Uvalde school board held a ‘joke’ of a meeting to address the shooting rampage at Robb Elementary School.
They said they were ‘disappointed’ in the Texas school district for neglecting to discuss safety protocols or discipline the police chief who refused to send cops into school while gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, shot kids dead.
Community members voiced their frustrations after Uvalde Superintendent Hal Harrell revealed the district was ‘eager’ for the outcomes of several investigations into law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting.
The probes were launched after officials revealed Ramos was inside the school for 77 minutes before police breached the building and killed him.
School police chief Pete Arredondo has received the brunt of public criticism for not sending in a team fast enough to end the gunman’s vile rampage.
Congressman Joaquin Castro, who argued it was ‘odd and disturbing’ the school board didn’t take action against the chief, has now asked the FBI to take the lead on the investigation, alleging ‘it’s clear that the state and local officials now are not cooperating with each other.’
Outraged parents are demanding action after the Uvalde school board held a ‘joke’ of a meeting to address the shooting rampage at Robb Elementary School. Community members are outside a makeshift memorial outside the Uvalde County Courthouse in Texas on May 26
The parents said they were ‘disappointed’ in the school district (pictured at Friday’s school board meeting) for neglecting to discuss safety protocols or discipline the police chief who refused to send cops into school while gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, shot kids dead
Parents left Friday’s school board meeting with growing rage after Harrell refused to answer their questions about school security.
‘We want answers to where the security is going to take place. This was all a joke,’ Uvalde parent Angela Turner told CNN. ‘I’m so disappointed in our school district.’
Turner, a mother of five, lost her niece, 11-year-old Miranda Mathis, during the May 24 massacre.
She said the shooting has left her own children fearful to attend school, claiming her six-year-old told her: ‘I don’t want to go to school. Why? To be shot?’
Dawn Pointevent, who also attended the meeting, echoed Turner’s concerns, arguing that her seven-year-old son is now ‘deathly afraid’ to go to school next year.
Turner encouraged parents and community members to put pressure on the school board, saying: ‘These people will not have a job if we stand together, and we do not let our kids go here.’
Community members voiced their frustrations after Uvalde Superintendent Hal Harrell (pictured Friday) revealed the district had declined to fire school police chief Pete Arredondo, despite the agenda having allowed the board time to do so
During the school board meeting, which was the first held since the shooting, Harrell announced the district had declined to fire Arredondo, despite the agenda having allowed the board time to do so.
Harrell said he was ‘eager’ for the investigations into the shooting to ‘run their course,’ implying the school could take disciplinary action against the cop in the future.
He told the concerned parents he had few updates to provide, but assured them students would ‘never’ return to Robb Elementary School, The Texas Tribune reported.
The superintendent also expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and hailed the slain teachers, who reportedly stood in the line of fire to protect their students, as ‘heroes’.
On Saturday, Rep. Castro questioned the district’s response to the incident, arguing it was unusual the school board didn’t ‘at least put the chief on administrative leave while everything is sorted out.’
‘Nobody’s been disciplined for this. There’s been no repercussions at all for what many have described as one of the worst law enforcement failures in American history,’ the Democrat told CNN.
Congressman Joaquin Castro argued it was ‘odd and disturbing’ the school board didn’t take action against the chief
Emergency personnel gather near Robb Elementary School on May 24 following a mass shooting that left 19 kids and two teachers dead
‘All of us, the American people, have seen the story and the version of the story change four or five times now.’
Castro said he, like the families of Uvalde, wants to know where the errors took place the day of the shooting.
‘When I was in Uvalde talking to the families, what they want most of all are answers about why this happened to their kids in their town,’ Castro said.
The Congressman also accused officials of ‘not cooperating’ with the investigation, despite the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas asking their members to aid in the probe.
‘There has been a great deal of false and misleading information in the aftermath of this tragedy,’ the union said in a statement earlier this week. ‘Some of the information came from the very highest levels of government and law enforcement. Sources that Texans once saw as iron-clad and completely reliable have now been proven false,’ it said.
Castro said the FBI, which has been partnering with state and local officials on the investigation, told him ‘it was kind of split up.’
He has asked the bureau to take full lead of the probe, in hopes of getting answers soon.
Students are pictured fleeing Robb Elementary School on May 24 following the massacre
This is how the shooting played out over the course of nearly two hours from when Ramos killed his grandmother at home. He arrived at the school at 11.28am and the first 911 calls were made. He then walked unobstructed into the building with his AR-15 and headed towards the classroom. He fought off cops at 11.44am, then was left alone in the room with the victims until around 12.44pm – when SWAT arrived. The incident was declared over at 1.06pm
Ramos stormed Robb Elementary School on May 24 with an AR-15 gun and fired more than 100 shots, killing 21 people. Seventeen others were injured.
The teen was inside the school building for 77 minutes before police reached the locked door with a key and killed the deranged madman.
Steven McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said last week Arredondo, who was the acting incident commander during the massacre, declined to send cops into the building because he believed the shooting had turned into a hostage situation.
McCraw admitted during a press briefing last Friday that waiting to take Ramos down ‘was the wrong decision.’
Salvador Ramos, 18, (pictured) stormed Robb Elementary School on May 24 with an AR-15 gun and fired more than 100 shots, killing 21 people. The teen was inside the school building for 77 minutes before police reached the locked door with a key and killed him
State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who has publicly criticized law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting, revealed Thursday that Arredondo was not carrying a radio during the shooting and was never informed that children had been calling 911 from inside the building.
‘Uvalde PD was the one receiving the 911 calls for 45 minutes while officers were sitting in a hallway, while 19 officers were sitting in a hallway for 45 minutes,’ Gutierrez said during Thursday’s press briefing.
The legislator said the fact that the calls were going to the city police but were not communicated to Arredondo was a ‘system failure’ and claimed the school police chief was not given all the necessary information when he opted against an immediate confrontation with Ramos.
Authorities have not yet disclosed how Arredondo, a Uvalde local, was communicating with other law enforcement officials at the scene.
He was hired to lead the school district police force, which has a half-dozen officers, in 2020. The force is responsible for providing security at district campuses, staffing sporting events and handling narcotics work.
Arredondo graduated from Uvalde’s high school in 1990 and previously worked for the Webb County Sheriff’s Office and the United ISD Police Department.
He has yet to publicly speak about the massacre and stated he wouldn’t release any further information while funerals were still underway.
‘We’re going to be respectful to the families,’ the school police chief told CNN on Wednesday. ‘We’re going to do that eventually. Whenever this is done and the families quit grieving, then we’ll do that obviously.’
PICTURED: The 19 children and two teachers butchered in Texas elementary school shooting
Amerie Jo Garza, 10
Amerie Jo Garza (right)
Amerie Jo Garza, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary, was one of 19 students confirmed to be killed Tuesday morning by Ramos, who cops say was carrying a handgun and an AR-15 during the attack that also killed two teachers in the classroom.
Her grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, said the 10-year-old was killed as she tried to phone 911 while sitting next to her best friend, who ended up ‘covered in her blood.’
Arreola said Ramos told the students and staffers inside the room, ‘You’re going to die,’ before opening fire – shooting her granddaughter dead as she tried to phone for help.
‘So the gunman went in and he told the children, ‘You’re going to die,’ Berlinda told The Daily Beast.
‘And [Amerie] had her phone and she called 911. And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her. She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood.’
Uziyah Garcia, 8
Uziyah Garcia, the youngest victim at age eight, was also killed in the attack.
The child’s family announced he was killed hours after announcing he was among the many children unaccounted for following the tragedy.
The boy’s grandfather, Manny Renfro, broke the news early Wednesday after being notified by authorities.
‘[He was] the sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,’ Renfro said. ‘I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.’
Renfro recalled how Uziyah last visited him in San Angelo over spring break.
‘We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns.
‘Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,’ the grieving grandad said.
‘There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced.’
Makenna Elrod, 10
Makenna Lee Elrod
Makenna Elrod, 10, had also been among the missing in the chaos that followed the massacre, with her father, Brandon Elrod telling reporters at the time he feared ‘she may not be alive.’
Her death was eventually confirmed by a family friend on Wednesday. ‘It’s pretty sad what this world’s coming to,’ the girl’s father told local outlet KTRK after the shooting.
A mother of one of Makenna’s friends lamented the loss in a post to Facebook.
‘Sweet Makenna Rest in Paradise!! My heart is shattered as my daughter Chloe loved her so much!!’ the mom wrote. A relative Wednesday confirmed that the girl had been among the victims.
Xavier Lopez, 10
Xavier Lopez, 10, was the first student victim to be identified as one of Ramos’ victims.
The child’s mother, Felicha Martinez, told the Washington Post Tuesday that just hours before the massacre, the mom had been at the school to see her son participate an honor roll ceremony.
She took a picture showing her son showing off his certificate.
In the last exchange she had with the child, the mom heartbreakingly told the boy that she was proud of him and that she loved him, giving him a hug goodbye – not knowing it would be the last time she would see him alive.
‘He was funny, never serious and his smile… that smile I will never forget,’ she recalled after learning of his death from police. ‘It would always cheer anyone up.’
The boy’s cousin, Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, said Xavier enjoyed swimming and had been looking forward to the summer.
‘He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,’ she said.
‘He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.’
Amelia Sandoval, Lopez’s grandmother, said: ‘It’s just so hard… you send your kids to school thinking they are going to make it back home but they’re not.’
Eliahana Torres, 10
Eliahana Cruz Torres
Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10, had also been missing for hours until she was confirmed to be among the dead.
Adolfo Cruz, her great-grandfather, said she didn’t want to attend school the day of the shooting – but was told by her family that she had to attend.
He said he remained outside the school gates throughout the night until he leanrned of her fate from local authorities.
‘I hope she is alive,’ he said at the time.
Torres was an avid baseball player and played the sport in a local little league.
Ellie Lugo, 10
Ellie Lugo was named as a victim of Tuesday’s attack by her parents, with Steven Garcia and Jennifer Lugo confirming her death several hours after she was listed among the missing.
‘It’s hard to issue out a statement on anything right now my mind is going at 1000 miles per hour… but I do wanna send our thoughts and prayers to those who also didn’t make it home tonight!!! Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever,’ Steven Lugo said Wednesday.
‘Mom and Dad love you never forget that and please try and stay by our side.’
Nevaeh Bravo, 10
Nevaeh Bravo was confirmed to be among the dead late Tuesday, after her cousin posted on social media following the shooting to ask for helping the girl.
Around 9 pm, she broke the news on Twitter.
‘Unfortunately my beautiful Nevaeh was one of the many victims from todays tragedy,’ she wrote.
Sje said the schoolchild was ‘flying high’ and asked for the family to be kept in people’s prayers
‘Our Nevaeh has been found. She is flying with the angels above. We love you Navaeh very much princess.’
‘Thank you for the support and help,’ she wrote. ‘Rest in peace my sweet girl, you didn’t deserve this.’
Bravo’s age could not immediately be confirmed.
Tess Marie Mata
Tess Marie Mata
Tess Marie Mata was also among those to perish in the attack, her sister, Faith Mata, revealed in a post to Facebook Wednesday.
‘I honestly have no words just sadness, confusion, and anger,’ she wrote.
‘I’m sad because we will never get to tag team on mom and dad again and tell each other how much we mean to each other, I’m confused because how can something like this happen to my sweet, caring, and beautiful sister, and I’m angry because a coward took you from us.’
Photos shared with the post showed Tess smiling in a baby photo, snuggling with a cat, doing gymnastics, flashing a peace sign, and posing in front of a large heart mural.
‘Sissy I miss you so much, I just want to hold you and tell you how pretty you are, I want to take you outside and practice softball, I want to go on one last family vacation, I want to hear your contagious laugh, and I want you to hear me tell you how much I love you,’ she wrote.
Her age could not immediately be confirmed.
Rojelio Torres, 10
Rojelio Torres, 10, was initially reported missing by his father, but on Wednesday was confirmed dead by his family.
A person who said she was the boy’s cousin wrote on Twitter: ‘It breaks my heart to say my rojelio is now with the angels I’ll forever miss you and love you my angel.’
The child’s father , Federico Torres, told Houston reporters that he was at work when he learned about the shooting and immediately raced to the school.
‘They sent us to the hospital, to the civic center, to the hospital and here again, nothing, not even in San Antonio,’ he said. ‘They don’t tell us anything, only a photo, wait, hope that everything is well.’
Nearly half a day later, cops broke the news to the boy’s family.
‘Our entire family waited almost 12 hours since the shooting to find out Rojelio Torres, my 10-year-old nephew, was killed in this tragedy,’ Torres’ aunt, Precious Perez, told KSAT. ‘We are devastated and heartbroken. Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten.’
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
Jayce Luevanos, 10, died in the shooting along with his ten-year-old cousin, Jailah, the child’s mother said Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, uncle Unberto Gonzalez shared photos of both kids while offering a touching tribute.
‘My babies going to miss them like crazy!!!,’ Gonzalez wrote. ‘We luv y’all so much!!! I’m just lost right now!!! Fly high my beautiful Angels!!’
Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10
Jailah Nicole Silguero
Ten-year-old Jailah Nicole Silguero was also killed in the shooting, her mother, Veronica Luevanos, tearfully revealed to Univision Wednesday.
She also lost her 10-year-old nephew Jayce to the tragedy.
She said Jailah loved to dance and film videos on TikTok.
The child reportedly also asked her mom the morning of the shooting if she could stay home from school – a request the now mourning mom rebuffed.
‘I took her to school, but she didn’t want to go. She told her father, ‘Can I stay home?” Luevanos said, noting that it was not a common occurrence for her daughter to make such a request. ‘I think she knew something would happen.’
Luevanos’ mom confirmed the loss on Facebook Wednesday.
‘Fly high my angels. We’re going to miss yall so much,’ wrote Veronica Luevanos – whose dad had died just a week earlier.
‘I’m so heart broken,’ she wrote with a photo of her daughter and nephew.
‘My baby I love u so much … fly high baby girl.’
Alithia Ramirez, 10
Fourth grader Alithia Ramirez was confirmed dead early Wednesday by her father, Ryan Ramirez, who shared a post to Facebook showing the 10-year-old with angel’s wings. He had used the same photo the previous day as he pleaded for help finding her after the massacre
He had heartbreakingly used the same photo the previous day as he desperately pleaded for help finding her after the massacre.
‘Trying to find my daughter Alithia. I called all the hospitals and nothing,’ he wrote at the time.
He also reporters during his frantic search, ‘I’m trying to find out where my baby’s at.’
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, was another killed by Ramos Tuesday – along with her cousin, who has yet to be identified.
Annabell’s father spent the afternoon after the shooting in frantic search for his daughter.
Speaking to KHOU11 Tuesday, he lamented at how he was at a loss as to what do, having little success with the search.
‘They’re not letting us in at the hospital right now so we don’t know where to go.’
She has since been declared to be among the dead.
Miranda Mathis, 11
Miranda Mathis, 11, was also confirmed as another casualty from the mass shooting early Wednesday, in a Facebook post by an older cousin who earlier that day had posted a desperate plea for help in locating the child.
‘My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly,’ Deanna Miller wrote alongside a photo of the child with angel wings.
‘I’m so sorry this happen to u baby please keep my family in your prayers,’ she grieved.
Miller’s kids had also been at the school at the time of the shooting, but survived the attack.
One of her sons told her that they were ushered out of a window by staffers during the attack and subsequently ran to a nearby funeral home after ‘he heard the shooter say he was gonna kill all the kids.’
Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Aniyah Rubio, 10
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio – who was better known to friends as ‘Lexi’ – was confirmed dead just before midnight on Tuesday.
The ten-year-old was shot dead just hours after posing for a photo with her parents at the school’s honor roll ceremony.
Kimberly Mata-Rubio, the girl’s mother, wrote of the loss: ‘My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll. She also received the good citizen award. We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye.’
Maite Yuleana was another student to die in the attack that had attended the honor roll ceremony just hours before.
A cousin of the girl’s mother, Ana Rodriguez, announced the loss Wednesday.
‘It is with a heavy heart I come on here on behalf of my cousin Ana who lost her sweet baby girl in yesterday’s senseless shooting.
‘We are deeply saddened by the lose [sic] of this sweet smart little girl…. God bless and may she R.I.P Maite Rodriguez we love you.’
Another relative shared a photo of Maite with her honor roll certificate.
Her age could not immediately be confirmed.
Jose Flores Jr, 10
Jose Flores, 10, was also killed in the shooting after attending the honor roll ceremony, where he was pictured triumphantly clutching a certificate celebrating the accomplishment.
Uncle Christopher Salazar confirmed to the Washington Post Wednesday that his 10-year-old nephew was among the dead, after sharing a tribute to the child on Facebook.
‘I love you and I miss you,’ Salazar wrote in the post.
The boy’s father described Jose to CNN as an amazing boy and big brother to his two younger siblings.
‘He was always fill of energy,’ Jose Flores Sr. said. ‘Ready to play till the night.’
He said the boy loved playing baseball and video games.
Jackie Cazares, 10
Jackie Cazares, 10, was another to be killed during the vicious attack at the elementary school.
Her father Jacinto confirmed she lost her life inside her fourth-grade classroom.
‘My baby girl has been taken away from my family and I,’ the grieving father said in an online post.
‘We’re devastated in ways I hope no one ever goes through. … It hurts us to our souls.’
Cazares said his daughter, who was with her cousin, Annabell Rodriguez, when she died, was ‘full of life and love’.
Layla Salazar, 10
The 10-year-old student was the last of the slaying victims to be identified.
Vincent Salazar told the Philadelphia Inquirer his young daughter was among those killed.
He said she was ‘a lot of fun’ and recalled how they sang along to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses whenever he drove her to school.
Irma Garcia, 46 – fourth grade teacher
Irma Garcia, who co-taught with Mireles for the last five year, had been at Robb Elementary for 23 years.
Married to Joe for 24 years, she was a mother of four – Cristian, completing Marine boot camp; Jose, attending Texas State university University; Lyliana, a sophomore in high school; and Alysandra, a 7th grader.
‘My tia did not make it, she sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom, i beg of you to keep my family including all of her family in y’all’s prayers , IRMA GARCIA IS HER NAME and she died a HERO,’ tweeted her nephew John.
‘She was loved by many and will truly be missed.’
She was nominated as teacher of the year for the 2018-19 awards, organized by Trinity University.
Eva Mireles, 44 – fourth grade teacher
Eva Mireles, a fourth grade teacher, was identified by her family as being one of the staff members shot dead. She had worked in education for 17 years.
Her husband Ruben Ruiz, a veteran detective and SWAT team member currently serving as a police officer with the school district, held regular active shooter drills for the schools – most recently at the end of March.
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