Texas school shooting: As Uvalde funerals continue, more is learned about how those inside Robb Elementary responded to the terror

Texas school shooting: As Uvalde funerals continue, more is learned about how those inside Robb Elementary responded to the terror

Hundreds of flower bouquets ring the fountain, stacked alongside toys, stuffed animals, candles and letters in memory of the 21 people killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde last week. Framed posters show smiling faces, leaning against walls covered with hearts drawn and names written in chalk.
On a pathway leading to the square, visitors slowly walk past a row of crosses, stopping to pray or reflect on the devastating tragedy. Each cross — several feet tall and draped with flowers, balloons and messages of remembrance — carries the name of someone killed.
Nineteen children and two teachers lost their lives after an 18-year-old gunman entered their classroom and opened fire. Now, families and friends have begun burying their loved ones.
Ryan Ramirez, the father of Alithia Ramirez, said he waited for nearly 12 hours before learning she was killed. He described his 10-year-old daughter as “very lovable and kind.”

“She was just there for anybody that needed anything. And that was one thing that we all loved about her,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

Alithia “loved drawing,” her father said, and when he met with President Joe Biden during his Uvalde visit on Sunday, Biden told him that he would have one of Alithia’s drawings displayed at the White House.

She “always had a crayon in hand, just going to town,” Ramirez said.

Biden recounts his visit to Uvalde: 'The pain is palpable'
As the community mourns, more details are emerging about the shooting and how those inside responded to the terror.
Robb Elementary educator Nicole Ogburn said she had just turned on a movie for her students when she saw someone carrying a gun outside her classroom window.
“I just, like, looked out the window and I see this guy with a gun walking up. And I just told my class, get on the ground, get on the ground, get to the corner,” Ogburn told CNN affiliates KABB/ WOW.

“I just kept hearing shots fired, and I just kept praying, ‘God, please don’t let him in my room, please don’t let him come in this room,’ and for some reason, he didn’t.”

A timeline provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed several 911 phone calls were made from the classrooms where the gunman unleashed his deadly onslaught, with children pleading for police to intervene.

Three people injured by the gunman remained hospitalized Tuesday at University Hospital San Antonio. The gunman’s 66-year-old grandmother, who was shot in the face before the attack on the school, is in good condition; a 9-year-old girl is in good condition; and a 10-year-old girl is in serious condition, the hospital said.

Enlarged photographs have been made into memorials to the 19 children and two teachers who died at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last week.  The children shown from left are: Eliahna "Ellie"  Amyah Garcia, 9, Amerie Jo Garza, 10, and Uziyah Garcia, 10.

Police chief sworn in as city council member

Meanwhile, Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief who officials last week identified as the incident commander during the shooting, was sworn in as a city council member on Tuesday after being elected to the post last month.
Arredondo has faced criticism for the decision to have officers posted in the hallway outside the classrooms where the shooting took place, waiting for more than an hour to intervene before a Border Patrol tactical team entered the room and killed the gunman.

Though Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw did not identify Arredondo by name, he said on Friday the chief made the “wrong decision” not to engage sooner with the gunman.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said no swearing-in ceremony was held Tuesday, “out of respect for the families who buried their children today, and who are planning to bury their children in the next few days.”

The mayor had said Monday that the special city council meeting “will not take place as scheduled,” adding “our focus on Tuesday is on our families who lost loved ones.”
The Justice Department announced Sunday it will conduct a review of the law enforcement response to the shooting at the mayor’s request.

More resources are inbound, state says

With attention being directed at the law enforcement response, Texas officials say they are also working to address the current needs on the ground.

To expedite the allocation of state and local resources, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for Uvalde on Tuesday, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“The disaster declaration will accelerate all available state and local resources to assist the Uvalde community, as well as suspend regulations that would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the aftermath of the tragic shooting,” the release said.

'Be a blessing to people': Volunteers have come to help Uvalde

“The community of Uvalde has been left devastated by last week’s senseless act of violence at Robb Elementary School and should not have to encounter any difficulty in receiving the support needed to heal,” Abbott said.

Other assistance has come from acts of service by volunteers from out-of-town.

Patrick Johnson, 58, told CNN he was so overcome with grievance after hearing about the shooting that he drove seven hours from Harleton, Texas, to Uvalde, filling his trunk with children’s toys from a Walmart to pass out in the town square.

For three days, children were invited to choose any toy they liked from a table crowded with stuffed animals, miniature cars and soccer balls.

“When you lose something, especially as a child, you need something else to hold onto,” Johnson said. “It brings joy to the kids, so it brings joy to me.”

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Andy Rose, Christina Maxouris, Alaa Elassar, Eric Levenson, Raja Razek, Joe Sutton, Jeremy Grisham and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.

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