And again... (Another US Shooting)

spaminator

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Texas state police fire first officer over Uvalde school shooting response
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Paul J. Weber
Publishing date:Oct 21, 2022 • 6 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Public Safety has fired an officer who was at the scene of the Uvalde school massacre and becomes the first member of the state police force to lose their job in the fallout over the hesitant response to the May attack.


Sgt. Juan Maldonado was served with termination papers Friday, said Ericka Miller, a department spokeswoman. The firing comes five months after the shooting at Robb Elementary School that has put state police under scrutiny over their actions on the campus as a gunman with an AR-15-style rifle killed 19 children and two teachers.


Body camera footage and media reports have shown that DPS had a larger role at the scene than the department appeared to suggest after the May 24 shooting. State troopers were among the first wave of officers to arrive but did not immediately confront the gunman, which experts say goes against standard police procedure during mass shootings.

Instead, more than 70 minutes passed before officers finally stormed inside a fourth-grade classroom and killed the gunman, ending one of the deadliest school attacks in U.S. history. Nearly 400 officers in all eventually made their way to the scene, including state police, Uvalde police, school officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents.


Maldonado could not be reached for comment Friday night.

Seven DPS troopers were put under internal investigation this summer after a damning report by lawmakers revealed that state police has more 90 officers at the scene, more than any other agency.

Steve McCraw, the DPS director, has called the law enforcement response an “abject failure” but put most of the blame on former Uvalde school police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was fired in August and can be seen on body cam video searching in futility for a key to the classroom door that may been unlocked the entire time.

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

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


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

Gutierrez has sued DPS in an effort to obtain documents surrounding the response to the shooting. Several media outlets, including The Associated Press, have also asked courts to compel authorities and Uvalde officials to release records under public information laws.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is up for reelection in November, has stood by McCraw and said during a September debate there needed to be “accountability for law enforcement at every level.” A spokesperson for Abbott did not return messages seeking comment about the firing.

One of the DPS troopers put under internal investigation was Crimson Elizondo, who resigned and later was hired by Uvalde schools to work as a campus police officer. She was fired less than 24 hours after outraged parents in Uvalde found out about her hiring.
 
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spaminator

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Acting Uvalde police chief during school shooting steps down
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jake Bleiberg
Publishing date:Nov 17, 2022 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read

DALLAS — The Uvalde officer who was leading the city’s police department during the hesitant law enforcement response to an elementary school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers has stepped down, a city spokeswoman said Thursday.


Lt. Mariano Pargas left the department voluntarily but it was not immediately clear whether he retired or resigned, according to city spokeswoman Gina Eisenberg.


Pargas is the second police leader to leave law enforcement in the fallout since the massacre in May, when hundreds of officers waited more than an hour to confront the gunman inside a classroom at Robb Elementary School.

The city placed Pargas, who was running the department during the shooting because the chief, Daniel Rodriguez, was out of town, on administrative leave in July following a damning report from lawmakers on the police response. His departure comes days after new audio highlighted that Pargas was told there were children alive in a classroom with the gunman half an hour before officers breached the room. The city council was set to consider firing him during a special meeting Saturday.


At a meeting Wednesday of the Uvalde County commissioners’ court, several community members called on Pargas to resign from his spot on the panel. Pargas, who was re-elected to county government on Nov. 8, was absent from the meeting, the Uvalde Leader-News reports.

Berlinda Arreola, whose 10-year-old granddaughter Amerie Jo Garza was killed, said Pargas needed to do “the right thing” and step down, according to CNN.

“He was a coward that day and he’s cowardly now, that he couldn’t show face,” Arreola said.

In the months after the shooting, state officials have focused blame on the school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, saying he made “terrible decisions” as the on-scene commander not to confront the gunman sooner. Arredondo was fired in August but has said he didn’t consider himself the person in charge and assumed someone else had taken control of the police response that eventually swelled to nearly 400 officers.


Audio recordings published by CNN show that as officers were massing around the school a dispatcher told Pargas there were “eight to nine” kids still alive inside the classroom where the shooter was holed up. Pargas can be heard acknowledging the information but more than 30 minutes would pass before a tactical team entered and killed the gunman.

Authorities have said the gunman did most of his shooting within minutes of entering the classroom but it’s unclear whether there’s an official tally of how many children in the room survived. Corina Camacho, whose son was shot and was one of the survivors, told The Associated Press that 11 children were not killed and their families try to stay in touch. Kids have publicly recounted playing dead to avoid being noticed by the gunman.


In addition to Pargas’ and Arredondo’s ousters, victims families and some lawmakers have called in recent months for the resignation or firing of Col. Steve McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Body camera footage, a legislative investigation and media reports have shown the state police had a larger role at the scene than the department appeared to suggest in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

Ninety-one DPS troopers were among the 376 law enforcement officers who ultimately responded. Seven were put under internal investigation this summer, but McCraw has defended his agency’s overall response, saying it “did not fail” Uvalde.

At a school board meeting Wednesday, Josh Gutierrez was named interim chief of police for the Uvalde school district. Gutierrez will lead the handful of officers who have been hired since the shooting. Five officers who were part of the law enforcement response were assigned other duties pending the outcome of an investigation into their actions that day.


Interim superintendent Gary Patterson opened the meeting by talking about the courage that the families of the victims have shown. Patterson takes the spot from Hal Harrell, who announced last month his plans to retire.

“We have all the respect in the world for how you’ve handled things in the worst possible circumstance,” Patterson said.

School district trustees on Wednesday also approved the location of the new school that will replace Robb Elementary, deciding it will be built next to another school a few miles away. The board decided months ago to demolish Robb Elementary, and the panel on Wednesday recommended that a committee be formed to decide what should happen to the site.
 

spaminator

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Uvalde mom sues police, gunmaker in school massacre
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Lindsay Whitehurst
Publishing date:Nov 28, 2022 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read

WASHINGTON — The last conversation Sandra Torres had with her 10-year-old daughter was about her nervous excitement over whether she’d make the all-star softball team. Hours later, Eliahna Torres was one of 19 children and two teachers massacred at their elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.


With little closure and few answers about law enforcement’s 77-minute wait on May 24 in the school hallway rather than confronting the gunman, Sandra Torres filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against police, the school district and the maker of the gun the shooter used.


“My baby never made it out of the school,” she said. “There’s no accountability or transparency. There’s nothing being done.”

The lawsuit accuses the city, the school district and several police departments of a “complete failure” to follow active shooter protocols and violations of the victims’ constitutional rights by “barricading them” inside two classrooms with the killer for more than an hour. The city, school district and police did not immediately return messages seeking comment.


Torres is being helped by the legal arm of the group Everytown for Gun Safety. Her suit also names the manufacturer of the AR-style semiautomatic rifle that Salvador Ramos used to fire more than 100 rounds in the horrific mass shooting.

The claim is part of a new and expanding legal front in the nationwide court battle over firearms. While gunmakers are typically immune under federal law from lawsuits over crimes committed with their products, families of victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, secured a $73 million settlement with Remington, the maker of the weapon used in that shooting a decade ago.

The settlement came after the victims successfully argued that suing over marketing under state law was an exception to the federal immunity measure.


The new Uvalde suit alleges that marketing tactics by Daniel Defense violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by negligently using militaristic imagery, product placement in combat video games and social media to target “vulnerable and violent young men,” said Eric Tirschwell, executive director at Everytown Law.

“It wasn’t by accident that he went from never firing a gun to wielding a Daniel Defense AR-15,” Tirschwell said, citing the findings of a report written by an investigative committee from the Texas House of Representatives. “We intend to prove Daniel Defense marketing was a significant factor in the choices that Ramos made.”

The company, based in Black Creek, Georgia, did not immediately return a message seeking comment, but in a congressional hearing over the summer CEO Marty Daniels called the Uvalde shooting and others like it “pure evil” and “deeply disturbing.” Still, he separated the weapons themselves from the violence, saying mass shootings in America are local problems to be solved locally.


Everytown is also part of a similar lawsuit after a shooting attack on parade-goers in Highland Park, Illinois, based on a state law. If arguments based on federal law are successful, it could open up gunmakers to costly civil lawsuits as the nation grapples with rising gun violence and a brutal string of mass shootings.

“It would be an important step forward to holding gun manufacturers to account if their marketing crosses a line,” Tirschwell said.

The case also names the gun shop where Ramos bought the weapon used in the shooting, along with another AR-15 and ammunition, purchases that totaled thousands of dollars, though only one weapon was used in the shooting. One patron later told the FBI he “looked like … a school shooter,” according to the report from the Texas House of Representatives.


The July report found that nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to the mass shooting, but “egregiously poor decision-making” resulted in more than an hour of chaos before the gunman was finally confronted and killed. It criticized state and federal law enforcement as well as local authorities for failing to follow active shooter training and prioritizing their own safety over the victims’ lives.

Another parent whose child was wounded in the shooting and two parents whose children were on campus at the time filed the first suit related to the Uvalde shooting in late September.

For Sandra Torres, the case is also another way to seek answers about the botched police response.

“For 77 minutes they did nothing. Nothing at all,” she said. “She’ll never know what it’s like to get married, to graduate, to go to her first prom … never forget their faces.”
 

The_Foxer

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Goodluck! NRA lawyers will walk all over that.
the gun case is probably going nowhere, but she might have some traction against the cops.

Honestly i don't get it. After L'ecole in the 80's canadian police learned that you absolutely have to rush in and engage an active shooter and that waiting is death for a lot more people. And that concept has saved many lives even when the cops rushing in can't actually hit the guy. Dawson for example - two cops rushed in and just started pining the guy down with fire until more showed up and took him out. But now he couldn't shoot people, he was pinned even tho the 2 cops never really got a good angle on him.

But in every single us case i hear about the cops sit around waiting for ages. And the kids die. I just don't get why they aren't trained to engage the shooters first chance they get. The old saying "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" is true - but the good guy has to show up.