A member of the elite Texas Rangers unit has been suspended and is being investigated for actions he failed to take during a long standstill at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, when one-armed The gun was left unattended for more than an hour, a source close to the investigation told CNN.
Ranger Christopher Ryan Kindell told investigators he arrived at the school around noon on May 24 and was focused on providing updates to his bosses, sources said. He told investigators he had no discussion of options for trespassing the classroom, as someone in his position was expected to do, they added.
“My actions at the scene and during the event were very few,” Kindell told investigators days after 19 children and two teachers were killed in the massacre, sources familiar with the matter said.
Kindell was one of seven officers from the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) referred by the agency’s inspector general for investigation, the sources said.
When he announced the review, before seven officers were referred for further investigation, DPS Director Colonel Steven McCraw said, “Each of our officers will be subject to DA surveillance and internal investigation – Just because they didn’t break the law, doesn’t mean they acted appropriately based on our policies.”
A common criticism of the failed law enforcement response is that aggressive shooter protocols, which prioritize stopping the shooter immediately, have not been followed. It took 77 minutes since the gunman entered the ring before he could successfully confront him.
CNN attempted to contact Kindell and received no response. DPS also did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Kindell can be seen repeatedly on footage from surveillance cameras and body cameras worn by other officers, often speaking on his phones, both inside and outside the school.
Sources close to the investigation said he explained to investigators that he was trying to find out the situation to his superiors.
“I’m trying to coordinate state assets, let us in,” he said, according to sources. “I’m trying to get a good grasp of what I understand the situation is going to be and pass that on to the chain of command. And I’m trying to take the brass that I see there, trying to do some sort of coordination with them. outside. “
He was seen inside the school hallway as a barrage of gunfire erupted from classrooms where the gunman had been.
“He’s still shooting,” he could be heard talking to someone over the phone.
Less than three minutes later, he walked toward the classroom, seemingly wanting to negotiate with the gunman, asking, “Does anyone know this kid’s name? I’ll try to talk to him.”
DPS Sheriff McCraw denounced similar attempts by then-school district chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo to negotiate with the shooter, saying it was the “wrong decision”.
McCraw told CNN after the review was published that he would be held accountable if his department had failed. “I will be the first to resign, I will be pleased to resign, I will submit my resignation to the governor if I think there is anything to blame in the Department of Public Safety. Periodically,” he said. .
One of the seven officers referred to the inspector general, Sgt. Juan Maldonado, was served with termination papers on Friday, DPS said, and sources confirmed to CNN that it was a result of his role in the response that day. He was one of the first out of 376 law enforcement officers to arrive at Robb Elementary.
CNN also reported on Captain Joel Betancourt, who ordered a strike team to stop even as classrooms were broken into and the gunman was killed. He told investigators he thought a better team was on the way. He was still on active duty as of last Thursday. Betancourt did not respond to CNN’s multiple attempts to contact him.
Crimson Elizondo, also referred for investigation, left DPS earlier this year. She took a job with the school district’s police force and was fired from that position after CNN revealed what she said and did on May 24. She declined to comment. discussed with CNN at the time.
The Texas Rangers are a special group within the Texas DPS, with higher hiring standards. Their long history goes back to before Texas joined the United States and in a section on the DPS website, former Rangers Captain Bob Crowder is quoted as saying, “A Ranger is an officer who can handle any any given situation without explicit instruction from him. commanding officer or a higher authority. This ability must be demonstrated before a man becomes a Ranger.”