‘They Failed Us’: Family Of Uvalde Victim Demands ‘Accountability’ Over Botched Police Response


Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The family of 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza demanded “accountability” over the botched police response to the shooting inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Garza’s father, Angel, along with her mother, Kimberly, and grandmother, Berlinda Arreola, joined CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday after a 77-minute surveillance video indicated that officers exchanged gunfire with the 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, then waited outside of the barricaded classroom for nearly an hour. Their child was one of 19 children killed in the attack, along with two fourth-grade teachers.

Angel said officers prevented him from saving his daughter by handcuffing him as he attempted to enter the building. Earlier reports revealed that police detained and pepper-sprayed parents attempting entry into the building to retrieve their children.

“It makes you angry,” Angel said. “It makes you wonder what they were doing and why they didn’t do their job. As a parent, as a father, I have a job and that’s to protect her, and they kept me from doing my job. They literally have the chance and somebody tells you not to do something but you have a moral obligation to do it, like why don’t you do it? They told me not to go in, but I was still trying to go in to save her and they put me in handcuffs.”

“It’s just disturbing that they can’t give us the right explanation to us that they owe us because that’s the least that we deserve,” he added.

Kimberly said she has gained more information regarding the shooting from social media than law enforcement and officials.

“I want accountability, I want them to admit what they did,” she said. “I want them to take accountability. That’s the thing that upsets me, I feel like us and all the other families, we don’t get answers. We don’t get calls, like you know, ‘This is happening.’ We don’t get updates. We feel like we are the last people who know anything. We feel like when we find things out, it’s on social media.”

“We need closure. We need to know what exactly happened,” Berlinda added. “They failed us. To be honest, there’s no explanation that will justify them not going in. It’s just so hard to believe that they sat there for 77 minutes.”

Police reportedly waited to retrieve tactical gear, a sniper and keys to the classroom. Authorities reportedly never attempted to unlock the door, likely believing the doors locked automatically. (RELATED: ‘Abject Failure’: Texas Public Safety Director Blames Police For Violating Protocol During Uvalde Shooting) 

The family vowed to “fight for justice” and changes in order to be informed of a full timeline. Angel said they know more about the mass shooting in Highland Park than the incident that killed his daughter.

“Nobody wants to admit that they were wrong,” he said. “Our daughter isn’t here anymore. We deserve to know what happened. We don’t know what she did in her last moments, we don’t know what she was thinking, we don’t know any of that. We deserve to know what happened. If you were wrong, admit that you were wrong. You cost kids their lives, adults their lives. This is one of the biggest mess ups in American history, and everybody is playing the blame game because they want to look like they were the ones that made a change, that stepped up and told them ‘We should go in there, we should do something different.'”

Kimberly plans to travel to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to address possible changes to prevent these incidents from continuing to happen. She and Berlinda said they would tell President Joe Biden to help fight for them.

The Department of Justice is currently conducting an investigation into the police response. Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave during the investigation.