AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The sister of a 9-year-old girl killed in the Uvalde school shooting on Thursday tearfully asked Texas lawmakers to pass a gun safety law, questioning why so many safety measures failed.
“I’m imploring you here to take action,” said Jazmin Cazares, whose young sister Jacklyn was one of 19 children killed in the 80 minutes the gunman spent inside Robb Elementary School on May 24th before the police stormed the classroom and killed him. Two teachers also died in the massacre.
The shooter was a former student, Salvador Ramos.
“Days after he turned 18, he bought an AR-15 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition,” she said.
Jacklyn and her cousin, Annabell Rodriguez, were best friends and part of a tight-knit quintet of classmates. All five died in the shooting.
Days after the tragedy, Jacklyn’s father, Javier Cazares, recounted how he rushed to school and kept an eye on the children who fled the school to catch a glimpse of him 9-year-old “banger” who loved gymnastics, singing and dancing.
He and others The parents got frustrated that the police did no more to stop the shooter.
“A lot of us were arguing with the police, ‘You all have to go in there. You all have to do your jobs,'” said Cazares, an army veteran. “We were ready to go to work and rush in.”
These delays and failures in law enforcement response are now the focus of federal, state, and local investigations. The chief of the Texas State Police this week called it a “pathetic failure”, and said how police responded contradicted everything learned in the two decades since the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999.
Officers with guns stood in a hallway for more than an hour, sometimes waiting for more guns and equipment before going into the classroom, said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
He blamed in large part the delays on Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde School District Police Chief, whom McCraw named the commander responsible.
The school district put the chief of police on administrative leave On Wednesday. Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said the facts about what happened were unclear and he didn’t know when details of several investigations would be announced.
Arredondo he said did not feel responsible and assumed someone else had taken control. He has declined repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press.
The mayor of Uvalde has dismissed McCraw’s blaming Arredondo, saying the Department of Public Safety had repeatedly spread false information about the shooting and whitewashed the role of its own officers.
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