UVALDE, TX – The Uvalde, Texas school district on Friday announced the suspension of the entire district police force following a botched response to the Robb Elementary school shooting in progress on May 24, which saw 19 children and two adults murdered.
The length of time for the suspension is unclear as of yet. In a statement, the district said they’ve requested that state troopers be assigned to school campuses as well as after school activities, saying, “We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition.”
On Thursday, the district also fired Crimson Elizondo, an officer who was hired by the district despite being under investigation by Texas Department of Public Safety for her response during the same shooting.
“We are deeply distressed by the information that was disclosed yesterday evening concerning one of our recently hired employees, Crimson Elizondo,” the school district said in a letter advising of the firing. “We sincerely apologize to the victim’s families and the greater Uvalde community for the pain that this revelation has caused.”
According to DPS, a memo was sent to the school district on July 28 advising that Elizondo was under investigation for the incident. On the same day, Lieutenant Miguel Hernandez, who has become the head of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department since former Chief Pete Arredondo was fired, emailed back, “Got it, thank you so much, MRH.”
Lt. Hernandez is one of those who were placed on administrative leave Friday. “Officers currently employed will fill other roles in the district,” the district said. This means that they will be suspended from police duties but still paid employees of the district. This suspension will effect four officers and a security guard.
Ken Mueller, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s director of student services, was also set to be placed on administrative leave, but elected to retire instead.
Kimberly Rubio, the mother of a girl named Lexi who was murdered during the massacre, has led the charge for change in the district. Regarding Elizondo, she said, “As the school district that I send my children off to, I expect them to be vetted. I applied at Whataburger and had [a] more thorough interview. I don’t understand why she herself would apply for this job. And I also don’t understand why the school district would hire her.”
Elizondo was among several officers hired to the district since August, and one of seven DPS officers to be under investigation for their response to the shooting. She was apparently the first DPS officer to enter the hallway of the school following the shooter’s entrance. According to an internal review, she did not bring her rifle or even her vest into the school with her.
While six of the DPS officers remain under investigation, Elizondo resigned to apply for the Uvalde school district.
According to local news outlet with ABC, “The school district said in Friday’s statement that ‘decisions concerning’ the school district police department have been pending results of investigations from the Texas Police Chiefs Association and the private investigative firm JPPI Investigations, but ‘recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations.'”