A Uvalde, Texas, county commissioner said he does not know where the school district police officer for Robb Elementary School was during the time of last week’s shooting.
Nineteen children and two adults were killed in the incident, in which the police response has drawn scrutiny over their response time and how long it took for them to neutralize the shooter.
Speaking on the CBS show “Face the Nation,” Commissioner Ronald Garza was asked where the officer was that fateful day.
“I have no idea,” he said, according to CBS. “I’m like a lot of people. We’re still in the dark about that.”
Uvalde County Commissioner Ronald Garza tells @margbrennan he has “no idea” why the school district police officer assigned to Robb Elementary wasn’t there when the shooting began.
“I’m like a lot of people. We’re still in the dark about that.” pic.twitter.com/eUU58FWIBl
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 29, 2022
“We’re still learning of new developments that are coming to light. But, you know, my heart goes out to the community. We’re emotionally shattered. And, you know, we’re — we’re just really sad right now. It’s a time of mourning in our community,” he said.
Garza said the school’s officer could have been at another building. Initial reports said the officer sought to confront the shooter, but that was later found to be false.
“I do know that we have multiple campuses here,” he said. “It’s — perhaps he was at another campus when, when the shooting started. But no, I, you know — he — he could have been at another campus.”
On Friday Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said the officer was not at the building.
“That officer was not on scene, not on campus, but had heard the 911 call about the man with the gun and drove immediately to the area, sped to what he thought was the man with the gun to the back of the school and what turned out to be a teacher and not the suspect,” McCraw said then, according to the Washington Examiner.
Margaret Brennan of CBS asked Garza whether Pedro Arredondo, chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department, was under protection due to community anger. Arredondo was in command of the initial response.
“Well, you know, rightly so. You know, people are — are asking questions. Parents lost children. They’re devastated. And it’s — it’s — it’s just a sad situation. And I think the community deserves answers,” he said.
“What was the problem, a lack of security?” Brennan asked.
Garza said the truth will come out without pointing fingers.
“You know, perhaps — perhaps it was a lack of security, training. You know, I think there’s multiple factors that might be involved here,” he said.
“But you know, right now, it’s easy. It’s easy to point fingers right now. It’s easy to play the blame game. But, you know, our community I think needs to focus on — on the — on the — on healing right now,” he said.
Garza said the community welcomes the federal investigation that was announced Sunday by the Department of Justice.
“I think we need to learn more. As tragic as this may seem, we need to learn from this, you know, and parents deserve answers,” he said.
Garza also said that the family of the shooter is “a family of faith. They value church; they value hard work. [I’ve] known them for many years — great grandparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts. And, you know, this should not be a reflection on them.”
“You know, we raise our children, and we try to raise them in the right way. But — but sometimes our children have different thoughts, have different attitudes, personalities, but we do the best we can,” he said.
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