Uvalde Hired—Then Fired—Cop Who Mostly Stayed Outside During School Shooting

The school district hired ex-Texas state trooper Crimson Elizondo, who's under investigation for her response to the shooting. They quickly fired her.
uvalde-state-trooper-school-officer-investigation
This image from video released by the City of Uvalde, Texas shows Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Crimson Elizondo responding to a shooting at Robb Elementary School, on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. (City of Uvalde via AP)

UPDATE 10/6 2:15 p.m.: In a press release issued Thursday, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District said it fired former state trooper Crimson Elizondo and that her “statement in the audio is not consistent with the district’s expectations.” The school district added that an independent review into the actions of school district officers present at the shooting is still underway.

Advertisement

A former Texas state trooper who didn’t appear to bring a rifle or tactical armor to the Uvalde school shooting and mostly stayed outside while it took place has been hired as a police officer for the same school district, CNN reported. 

Crimson Elizondo was reportedly one of the first officers on scene at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers on May 24. She arrived within two minutes of the gunman entering the school but only went inside briefly because she wasn’t properly equipped, according to CNN, citing sources familiar with the investigation. The outlet said she is now under internal review by the Texas Department of Public Safety about how law enforcement acted that day. 

Body-camera footage from the day of the shooting also shows Elizondo telling other officers, “If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside. I promise you that.”

During the summer, Elizondo left the Texas Department of Public Safety, according to CNN. She is now working as an officer for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, which oversaw the now-defunct Robb Elementary. Parents saw Elizondo posted outside Uvalde Elementary—where Robb students are now attending—during back-to-school, CNN reported.  

Advertisement

The Texas Department of Public Safety and Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Elizondo is among a handful of state troopers being investigated for their response to the shooting, and some have been suspended with pay, CNN and ABC News reported. Photos from that day appear to show her holding a pistol. The overall police response to the shooting has been widely condemned as a failure; despite 376 law enforcement officers on the scene, the gunman wasn’t taken down for 78 minutes. 

For more than a week, parents and relatives of victims have been protesting outside the school district’s administration offices. They are calling for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District officers to be suspended pending an independent review into their conduct that day. 

A group of them called Lives Robbed released a statement denouncing Elizondo’s hiring. 

"We are disgusted and angry at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District's (UCISD) decision to hire Officer Crimson Elizondo. Her hiring puts into question the credibility and thoroughness of UCISD's HR and vetting practices. And it confirms what we have been saying all along: UCISD has not and is not in the business of ensuring the safety of our children at school,” the statement said, as reported by CNN. 

“I want my daughter back. If I can’t have her, then those that failed her will NEVER know peace,” tweeted Kimberly Mata-Rubio, a local journalist whose daughter Lexi was killed in the shooting. Mata-Rubio also called for the resignation of Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Advertisement

Pete Arredondo, former police chief for the school district, was fired several weeks after the shooting. A Texas House Committee report found that, despite being one of the first officers on scene, he did not assume the role of incident commander, contrary to his active-shooter training, and chaos ensued. 

A Sept. 30 letter posted by Lives Robbed from Superintendent Hal Harrell to school staff addresses the protesters and says the school district is “seeking an end to the disruption.” 

“We have shared our willingness to meet with the individuals to address their concerns, but to date, only one has accepted our offer,” the letter said. It also said the district is awaiting the delivery of gates and that no media is allowed on school district property without an administrative escort. 

Evy Kwong contributed to this report.

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.