The compulsion to find blame in the first responders on scene at the tragic Texas elementary school massacre was furthered Sunday after reports emerged suggesting that, while law enforcement officials delayed entry “these mistakes may have led to the passing away of these children.”
Texas Democratic state Sen. Roland Gutierrez represents the people of the 19th District, including Uvalde, Texas, the site of the tragedy at Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers were murdered Tuesday. In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Gutierrez emphasized precisely why so many are demanding an investigation as he relayed the devastating loss of one mother to Dana Bash.
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When she asked if the delay to confront the 18-year-old suspect had cost lives, the senator explained how he met with a family Saturday and the mom told him, “Her child had been shot by one bullet through the back through the kidney area. The first responder that they eventually talked to said that their child likely bled out.”
“In that span of 30 or 40 minutes extra, that little girl might have lived,” Gutierrez stated. “So absolutely, these mistakes may have led to the passing away of these children as well.”
“A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security details as part of their training initiative to empower bystanders to learn how to help save lives.
“The whole thing is a shame. I am disgusted by all of it,” Gutierrez said of the entire tragedy. However, he went on to single out the response from the authorities on scene. “The protocols were breached. The active shooter protocols dictate that you go in. First, there were seven officers, by 12:03 p.m. there were 19 officers. So many things went wrong here.”
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District chief of police Pete Arredondo was singled out as the man in charge of the response and it was explained, “at that time [he] believed it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject.” But, while many see fault in Arredondo, and the Justice Department has announced a Critical Incident Review of the response, the senator does not believe the police chief should bear the brunt of the responsibility.
“It is not fair to put it on the local ISD cop,” he told Bash. “At the end of the day, everybody failed here. We failed these children. We even failed them in the Texas legislature.”
While there is no reason to question the sincerity of the senator’s sentiments, his apparent willingness to shoulder some of the blame as a state lawmaker did not come without a hearty dose of political grandstanding. Gutierrez had attended Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-Texas) press conference Friday where he saw fit to call it a “made-for-TV” event as he took part in a similar politicization of the tragedy as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke had as he demanded a special session be called.