Uvalde taking pictures: College district fires officer after CNN identifies her as trooper underneath investigation for her response to bloodbath
The Uvalde Consolidated Impartial College District fired a newly employed college officer on Thursday after CNN recognized her as one of many officers underneath investigation for her actions throughout the Uvalde college bloodbath in Could.
Crimson Elizondo was one of many state troopers who arrived at Robb Elementary inside two minutes of a gunman getting into the varsity and opening fireplace final Could.
She is seen in her Texas Division of Public Security (DPS) uniform, handgun drawn, exterior the varsity constructing in Uvalde, after which briefly within the hallway on the physique digicam footage from one other legislation enforcement officer.
Later, she will be heard on physique digicam footage speaking to fellow officers when somebody asks if she had kids on the college that day.
“If my son had been in there, I’d not have been exterior,” she stated. “I promise you that.”
Elizondo was one of many first of the 91 DPS officers to reach, one of many 376 whole legislation enforcement personnel who went to the varsity the place the shooter was left for 77 minutes – with useless, dying and traumatized victims – earlier than he was stopped. The response to the assault during which 19 kids and two lecturers have been killed has been denounced as an “abject failure” with sufficient blame to be unfold extensively.
The varsity police chief was fired and now seven DPS officers are being investigated for what they did – or didn’t – do. CNN has uncovered solely that Elizondo is a type of officers being investigated. A supply near the investigation additionally confirmed that to CNN.
She now not works for DPS. Through the summer time, she was employed as a police officer for the Uvalde Consolidated Impartial College District, the place her function is to guard among the exact same kids who survived the Robb Elementary taking pictures.
Elizondo declined to talk with CNN in particular person, on the telephone or by direct message.
Following this CNN report, the varsity district issued a press release saying her termination efficient Thursday.
“We’re deeply distressed by the data that was disclosed yesterday night regarding considered one of our not too long ago employed staff, Crimson Elizondo,” the assertion from the district stated. “We sincerely apologize to the sufferer’s households and the better Uvalde neighborhood for the ache that this revelation has prompted. Ms. Elizondo’s assertion within the audio will not be in keeping with the District’s expectations.”
“Concerning the remaining UCISD Police Division staff, we proceed to make personnel choices primarily based on verifiable info. An unbiased investigation is underway to guage the actions of the present officers on Could 24, 2022. Moreover, we’re awaiting outcomes of a administration and organizational overview of the UCISD Police Division that can support the district in taking knowledgeable actions to additional guarantee the security and safety of our faculties,” the assertion added.
Nevertheless, the Uvalde College District Police have been knowledgeable as early as July 28 that Elizondo was topic to investigation by the division’s Workplace of Inspector Basic for actions “inconsistent with coaching and division necessities,” based on paperwork obtained by CNN in a public data request.
It’s not clear from the letter which actions have been topic to investigation.
Uvalde CISD has stated it wished to recruit 10 extra officers after the Could 24 assault. It didn’t particularly announce the hiring of Elizondo over the summer time, although the names and photographs of her and 4 different cops, one lieutenant and one safety guard are on its web site, underneath the banner “KEEP U.C.I.S.D. SAFE.”
Superintendent Hal Harrell informed a particular city corridor assembly in August that a minimum of 33 DPS officers would even be deployed across the district’s eight faculties. After preliminary concern by residents that officers who didn’t cease the killing could be tasked with college safety, dad or mum Brett Cross informed CNN he had been assured the deployed DPS officers wouldn’t have been responders to the taking pictures.
In her new place, that restriction doesn’t apply to Elizondo. Kids and oldsters walked previous her as they headed into the varsity yr at Uvalde Elementary, the brand new dwelling for the youthful college students who survived the Robb bloodshed.
And a few dad and mom, together with those that misplaced kids within the bloodbath, acknowledged her from the physique digicam footage launched by the mayor, relations informed CNN.
“We’re disgusted and offended at Uvalde Consolidated Impartial College District’s (UCISD) determination to rent Officer Crimson Elizondo. Her hiring places into query the credibility and thoroughness of UCISD’s HR and vetting practices,” based on a press release from household representatives.
It made them really feel uneasy, CNN has realized, one more reminder of the lethal day in a city that is stuffed with such reminders.
However they didn’t know that she was underneath investigation.
It’s additionally unclear if the varsity district knew of the investigation when she was employed.
The assertion from household representatives requires all division officers to be suspended pending a third-party investigation, and its outcomes “should be launched” to the general public in addition to households of the victims.
“Our youngsters have been taken from us. We is not going to cease preventing till now we have solutions and we guarantee the security of the youngsters in our neighborhood is the highest precedence,” the assertion stated.
Cross, the authorized guardian of Uziyah Garcia, one of many kids killed at Robb Elementary, says he’s “disgusted” by what the district has finished.
“I’m completely appalled,” he informed CNN’s Anderson Cooper and says the varsity board met with him and provided to tug such officers to off-campus roles. He says he’ll proceed to carry a vigil exterior the varsity board workplaces till all officers are suspended.
The district and its employees haven’t responded to emails and calls and a private method from CNN about this story.
Texas DPS, the state physique that helps native legislation enforcement in main incidents, introduced an inside overview into its staff who responded to Robb.
Sources accustomed to the investigation confirmed to CNN that Elizondo is considered one of seven officers whose conduct is being investigated by DPS, however neither their names nor their actions or inactions have been made public.
In a redacted inside memo to the group’s director obtained by CNN, DPS cited “actions which can be inconsistent with coaching and necessities” as the explanation for the officers being referred for investigation.
Sources accustomed to the inquiry informed CNN that Elizondo was not correctly geared up and stated to investigators that she was not comfy going inside the varsity with out her gear.
Footage from police physique cameras and people of different officers seen by CNN present Elizondo arriving on the outskirts of the varsity as one of many first officers to reply to the report of an armed man at Robb Elementary.
She will get out of her official automobile however doesn’t retrieve any tactical physique armor or her lengthy rifle, as officers are skilled to do.
She doesn’t method the varsity however stays with officers from different businesses exterior the fence till a name comes over the radio, “Pictures fired contained in the constructing!”
Elizondo runs with different officers to the jap finish of the constructing that housed connecting lecture rooms 111 and 112. Quickly after, the responding officers are informed that the shooter is contained in a room on the west facet.
After that, there performs out on the recordings the multiple hour of confusion and delay earlier than anybody goes to assist the trapped employees and college students in rooms 111 and 112, the catalog of errors that has develop into a part of the Uvalde tragedy.
Elizondo walked contained in the constructing briefly however largely stood exterior.
As officers ready for what grew to become the ultimate breach, she provided to assist a colleague and went to assemble provides for him. She was away from the varsity when the gunman was shot and killed.
Inside moments, the physique digicam recordings present, the hallway the place so many had stood grew to become a scene of carnage as officers acquired college students out of the lecture rooms and assessed their accidents.
Elizondo was quickly there, urging college students to “go, go, go” in the event that they have been in a position, and never to have a look at their accidents or the blood on the ground. She comforted one boy as an officer checked his wounds, telling him repeatedly that she was there with him, that he could be OK and that his dad and mom would quickly be informed.
The footage confirmed she traveled to the hospital in a college bus with college students who have been shot and traumatized, once more serving to to deal with them.
DPS director Col. Steven McCraw stated in August: “Each considered one of our officers will endure scrutiny by the DA and an inside investigation – simply because they didn’t violate the legislation, doesn’t imply they acted appropriately primarily based on our coverage.”
Two weeks later official notes of a gathering confirmed McCraw telling captains, “Nobody is shedding their jobs.” McCraw informed CNN he had been misquoted within the minutes and vowed “nobody will get a cross.”
He stated he would launch all the data when he may, however the native district legal professional has requested him not to take action till the prison investigations are accomplished, a course of he has acknowledged may take years.
Prosecutor Christina Mitchell Busbee will cost anybody who has dedicated a criminal offense at Robb Elementary, together with legislation enforcement officers, she’s stated.
CNN reached out to the Division of Public Security, which declined to remark for this story.
A coalition of stories organizations together with CNN is suing the DPS for data referring to the investigation which have been withheld from the media and public.
Thus far, the one particular person identified to have misplaced their job over the response to the taking pictures has been college police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, who was fired by the varsity board in August. Arredondo grew to become the figurehead of the failed response, although he has stated he didn’t contemplate himself the incident commander and has referred to as to be reinstated.
Elizondo earned a base wage of $59,715 at DPS, based on a database compiled by The Texas Tribune, reflecting a 12% increase a yr in the past. She joined the division in 2018.
Her new wage will not be identified, however a job posting for the same function has a decrease wage vary, from $41,584 to $59,158.
That posting lists psychological and bodily calls for of the place, together with an “Potential to successfully take care of private hazard which can embody sudden publicity to armed individuals … underneath intense threatening circumstances.”
On Could 24, as she rode the varsity bus again to Robb Elementary from the hospital, she informed one other officer: “Nothing may put together you for what they introduced out. It was horrible.”