A police officer who was hired by the Uvalde School District while under investigation for his conduct during the school massacre while working for the Texas Department of Public Safety has now been fired.
The school district said in a letter Thursday that Crimson Elizondo was fired effective immediately. The decision to hire Elizondo sparked outrage among parents of victims of the May 24 school shooting that killed 21 people, including 19 elementary students.
“We are deeply distressed by the information that was released last night regarding one of our recently hired employees, Crimson Elizondo,” the school district wrote in the letter. “We sincerely apologize to the families of the victims and the greater community of Uvalde for the pain this revelation has caused.”
Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter, Lexi, was killed at Robb Elementary, said the district was right to fire Elizondo, but said she shouldn’t have been hired in the first place.
“As the school district I send my kids to, I expect them to be vetted,” Rubio told ABC News.
“I applied to Whataburger and got [a] more in-depth interview,” she added. “I don’t understand why she herself would apply for this position. And I also don’t understand why the school district would hire him.”
ABC News confirmed Wednesday that Elizondo, a former Texas state trooper currently under investigation for his conduct in response to the Uvalde School Shooting Ramage, was among new officers hired for the Uvalde School District Police Department – the same force that came under fire for the failed response to the massacre.
The news was first reported by CNN.
Elizondo was the first member of the Texas Department of Public Safety to enter the hallway at Robb Elementary School after the shooter entered. The soldier did not bring his rifle or vest into the school, according to the results of an internal review by DPS that was detailed to ABC News.
Due to the potential non-compliance with standard procedures, the soldier was among seven DPS personnel whose conduct is currently under investigation by the agency’s inspector general. The seven have been suspended, however, by Elizondo’s resignation from the DPS to work for Uvalde Schools, she is no longer subject to any internal discipline or sanction. His conduct – if found to be contrary to law or policy – would be included in the final report of the DPS IG.
Texas DPS said Thursday it sent a memo to the Uvalde School District on July 28, which was transmitted over a secure law enforcement network on August 1, saying Elizondo was under investigation. by the Inspector General of the DPS.
That day, Lt. Miguel Hernandez of the Uvalde Independent School District Police Department confirmed in writing, “Understood, thank you very much, MRH.” Hernandez took control of the department after decrying former police chief Pete Arredondo has been fired.
The Uvalde School District did not say when Elizondo was hired, but they said at an Aug. 8 school board meeting that “four officers have been recommended for hire.” It is not known if Elizondo was one of them.
Neither Hernandez nor the district spokeswoman responded to requests for comment.
About two dozen family members of the victims had gathered outside the school district’s administration building before sunrise Thursday with signs protesting Elizondo’s hiring.
Some families of the victims have joined together to form a group called Lives Robbed. In a statement Wednesday, the group said, “We are disgusted and angry at the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s (UCISD) decision to hire Crimson Officer Elizondo. His hiring calls into question the credibility and rigor of UCISD’s HR and auditing practices.And it confirms what we have been saying all along: UCISD is not and is not in the business of keeping our children safe at school. “
The statement continued: “We cannot trust the decisions that have been made regarding the safety of our schools. Therefore, we call for the suspension of all UCISD officers, pending the conclusion of JPPI’s investigation. Investigations LLC. The results of this investigation must be made public to the families of the Robb Elementary shooting victims, as well as the public. Our families have demanded accountability, and we deserve transparency and justice at the state, local and Our children have We will not stop fighting until we have answers and ensure that the safety of children in our community is the top priority.
Kimberly Rubio told ABC News on Thursday, “I think the first step is to investigate these agents. Suspend them while you do it. Make sure you’re hiring the right people. Make sure your doors are locked. , make sure the doors are upright.”
Despite Elizondo’s dismissal, Rubio said, “I’m very frustrated. It’s endless. We’ll never move forward, but we still deserve transparency – accountability, justice. Nobody’s helping us.”
Questions have also been raised about pre-hire screening by Arredondo District, which was blamed for much of the failed firing response. He had been demoted in a previous job, and critics argue that work history was not considered when the district hired him to lead its police force.
The practice of police officers changing jobs and jurisdictions despite concerns raised in previous posts has become a nationwide concern. Some have called for the creation of national standards and databases that would allow potential employers to quickly know if a cop has anything potentially disqualifying in their work history.
ABC News’ Patrick Linehan, Ishmael Estrada and Olivia Osteen contributed to this report.