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Texas state police fire 1st officer over Uvalde response : NPR


Vehicles on August 25, 2022 pass crosses placed in honor of the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Eric Gay / AP


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Eric Gay / AP


Vehicles on August 25, 2022 pass crosses placed in honor of the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Eric Gay / AP

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Department of Public Safety fired an officer Friday who was at the scene of the Uvalde school massacre and became the first member of the state police force to lose his job as a result of a reaction. hesitant response to the May attack.

Service Department Sgt. Spokesperson Ericka Miller said Juan Maldonado with a contract termination letter. No details were provided about his role at the scene of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary or the specific reason Maldonado was fired.

The shooting comes five months after a mass shooting prompted state police to monitor their actions on a school campus when a gunman using an AR-15-style rifle killed 19 children and two teachers. .

Maldonado could not be reached for comment on Friday night.

Camera footage and media reports have shown the Department of Public Safety to have a larger role at the scene than it had suggested after the shooting. State soldiers were among the first to arrive but did not immediately confront the gunman, which experts say goes against standard police procedure in mass shootings.

Instead, more than 70 minutes passed before officers finally stormed inside a 4th grade classroom and killed the gunman, ending one of the deadliest school attacks in US history. Nearly 400 officers eventually arrived on the scene, including state police, Uvalde police, school officers, and US Border Patrol agents.

Seven Department of Public Safety soldiers came under internal investigation this summer after a damning report by lawmakers revealed that the state police had more than 90 officers at the scene, more than any other. any other agency.

Steve McCraw, Director of the Department of Public Safety, called the law enforcement response “pathetic failure“but largely blamed the former Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo, who was fired in August and can be seen on the video body cam searching for the classroom door key that might have been unlocked in vain.

But the mayor of Uvalde, the victims’ parents and some lawmakers have accused the Department of Public Safety of trying to minimize its own failures.

State Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde, reacted to the news of the layoffs by saying that accountability within the department should not end there.

“Ninety more to go, plus the DPS director,” he said.

Gutierrez sued the department in an attempt to gather documents surrounding the response to the shooting. Several media outlets, including The Associated Press, have also asked the court to force the Uvalde government and officials to release the records under public information laws.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who will be re-elected in November, sided with McCraw and said during a September debate that there should be “law enforcement accountability at every level.” A spokesperson for Abbott did not return messages seeking comment on the layoffs.

One of the state troopers under internal investigation was Crimson Elizondo, who resigned and was later hired by the Uvalde schools to serve as a school police officer. She was fired less than 24 hours after outraged parents in Uvalde discovered her hiring.

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