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UVALDE — Uvalde school officials fired a recently hired district police officer after it became public knowledge that she was one of the first state troopers to arrive at Robb Elementary on May 24, when gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.
Crimson Elizondo is among at least five current or former Department of Public Safety officers the agency is investigating for their response to the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, CNN reported Wednesday.
Elizondo, who responded to the shooting within minutes while a state trooper, was hired by the school district police department after quitting her DPS job. Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters Thursday at a campaign stop in New Braunfels that the school district asked the DPS about Elizondo. Abbott said the agency told the school district that “it took actions inconsistent with the requirements of the training and the department.”
“So this school district had all the information about the person they chose to hire, and it’s up to the school district – not the DPS, no one else – to take responsibility for the bad decision they made. took,” Abbott said.
Law enforcement officers from local and state agencies were heavily criticized for waiting more than an hour to confront the shooter at Robb Elementary, a response that disregarded common active shooter training. A Texas House committee investigation questioned the law enforcement response, finding that the hundreds of officers reacted in a chaotic and uncoordinated manner. They lacked clear leadership, basic communications and sufficient urgency, according to a committee report.
It was unclear Thursday whether Elizondo was one of two DPS officers suspended with pay while the agency investigates them. DPS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
In body camera footage the day of the shooting, Elizondo responded to another officer who asked if she had any kids at school: “If my son had been in there, I wouldn’t have been outside. I promise you.
District spokeswoman Anne Marie Espinoza said in a statement Thursday that “the audio does not meet district expectations” and that Elizondo “has been terminated from her position.”
“We are deeply distressed by the information that was released last night regarding one of our recently hired employees, Crimson Elizondo,” Espinoza said. “We sincerely apologize to the families of the victims and the greater community of Uvalde for the pain this revelation has caused.”
Former Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was one of the first officers on the scene and served as the designated incident commander in the district’s active-fire plan, received much of the blame for the sloppy response from law enforcement. The district suspended Arredondo on June 22 and fired him on August 24. The district is also investigating other officers in the district who responded to the shooting.
Since the massacre, parents and loved ones of the 19 children and two teachers have demanded that every officer who responded be held accountable and fired.
On September 27, Brett Cross, the legal guardian and uncle of 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia, who was killed in the massacre, started a protest outside the school district administration building. As he camped out for days, other relatives joined him. Cross, and some of the other parents who joined him in his vigil, said he wants the school district to suspend the school’s police officers without pay until it can determine whether the officers are justified in d wait over an hour to enter the classroom.
After CNN’s report, the parents escalated their protest by blocking the front doors of the school district’s administration building.
“Either they knew and they didn’t say anything because they didn’t care, or they were ignorant. And in that case, they shouldn’t be hiring people because they’re not doing their jobs right if they can’t do their due diligence,” Cross said Thursday outside the administration building. ‘school.
Jinitzail Hernández and Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.