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Uvalde County Sheriff's Office had no active shooter policy at time of school massacre, review shows

UCSO is one of several agencies coming under scrutiny for its actions on May 24 when 19 students and two teachers were killed by a mass shooter.

SAN ANTONIO — An independent review of the Uvalde County Sheriff's Office's found that the department did not have an active shooter policy at the time of the Robb Elementary shooting.

UCSO is one of several agencies coming under scrutiny for its actions on May 24 when 19 students and two teachers were killed by a mass shooter. Multiple investigations in the last six months revealed law enforcement missed several opportunities to act when the gunman entered the classroom. The shooter was in the classroom for 77 minutes before law enforcement breached the door.

The third party who reviewed UCSO said it wasn't until September that the agency adopted an active shooter policy, four months later. The reviewer said at the time of the shooting, only 20% of the sheriff's office had active shooter training.

The reviewer did note that among the department's policies and procedures were glossary definitions that distinguished between an active shooter and a barricaded suspect. Some of the early explanations given for the delayed law enforcement response was that officers believed they were responding to a barricaded subject rather than an active shooter.

The review that was ordered did not look at the individual actions of any deputies during the shooting, just policies and procedures of the department.

Richard W. Carter, who says he was solely hired to review the sheriff’s office policies and not deputies' actions on May 24, also said those who didn't have active shooter training included Sheriff Ruben Nolasco.

“He has not taken the course that his officers, all but three of his officers have. He plans to do that in the immediate future,” Carter told reporters after the meeting. “What I understand is he wanted to make sure all his people that might go out were trained,” Carter added. 

KENS 5 reached out to the sheriff’s office and we are waiting for a response.

Calls to resign

Meanwhile, the meeting had its tense moments with the arrival of Mariano Pargas, the former Uvalde police lieutenant who came under fire after reports said he knew several children were still alive inside the classroom when he failed to act.

He was attending his first meeting since being re-elected to the court last month, and was met with calls to resign. Those included Jesse Rizo, the uncle of victim Jackie Cazares, who confronted Pargas at the meeting. 

“He didn’t do his job as an officer, but he wants people to trust him on the job he’s in right now? How can he expect that, how can he expect the healing process to take place?" Rizo said. "He can’t."

Pargas walked out of the building surrounded by Texas DPS troopers and Uvalde County deputies. He didn't answer questions about his role in the shooting response.

Meanwhile, Brett Cross, the uncle of Uziyah Garcia and an outspoken advocate for change since the shooting, was kicked out of the meeting after a public commenter accused the crowd of putting Pargas back in office.

>WARNING: The video below contains strong language.

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