Texas judge SEALS autopsies for Uvalde elementary school shooting victims before ‘potential prosecution’ of those ‘criminally responsible’ in the deaths of 19 children and two adults
- A Texas judge has sided with the district attorney and ruled the autopsies for the 19 students and two teachers murdered at Robb Elementary School be sealed
- Judge Camile Dubose of the 38th District Court on Friday said that the documentation be kept secret
- She agreed to keep the details secret while an investigation into the shooting is carried out, and accepted that releasing the causes of death could jeopardize it
- At the heart of the matter is whether any of the 23 people who died could have been saved if police acted sooner to storm the classrooms and rescue them
- Roland Gutierrez, a state senator representing Uvalde, condemned the decision and said it was yet more evidence of a coverup
A Texas judge has approved the sealing of the Uvalde victims’ autopsies, in an unusual moved condemned by the state senator as yet another cover-up.
Judge Camile Dubose of the 38th District Court on Friday ordered the records be sealed, following a request from the district attorney, Christina Mitchell.
Mitchell argued that publishing the details of how the 19 children and two teachers died could prejudice any criminal investigation.
Of vital importance is whether any of the victims could have been saved had the police stormed the Robb Elementary School classroom sooner on May 24.
The gunman, Salvador Ramos, 19, entered the school at 11:30am but was not shot dead until 12:50pm, as the police debated whether to break down the door.
Mitchell, arguing that the autopsies be sealed, noted that an investigation into the law enforcement response was continuing.
Salvador Ramos, 19 (left), opened fire on May 24 in Robb Elementary, killing 19 children and two teachers. On Friday Judge Camile Dubose (right) approved the sealing of the victims’ autopsies
‘The Texas Rangers are currently investigating potential crimes by individuals responsible for the health and welfare of the victims of Robb Elementary school,’ Mitchell wrote.
‘In the event criminal charges are filed, the 38″ Judicial District Attorney will be responsible for the prosecution of such charges.
‘The types, number, and manner in which injuries were inflicted in this case includes information vital to the investigation, apprehension and potential prosecution of individuals that may be criminally responsible.’
Mitchell said that those who could be swept up in any prosecutions would be given excessive information, if the autopsies were released.
‘The release of the details contained in the autopsy records at this time would alert potential suspects of information that law enforcement needs to preserve until the investigation and potential questioning of such suspects is completed,’ she wrote.
Roland Gutierrez, a state senator whose district includes Uvalde, said that the decision to seal the autopsies was yet more obstruction.
Roland Gutierrez, state senator representing Uvalde, said on Monday that the decision not to release the autopsy was yet another obstruction for the families
Families of the victims have been enraged by the lack of transparency from authorities, and the multiple changes to the official story.
‘The family members were trying to gain access to these autopsies, and were not able to do so,’ said Gutierrez.
‘People will decide in history whether this was a cover up. Whether law enforcement was covering up for their actions. Whether the governor was covering up for the failures of his agency.
‘But the facts are very clear.
‘The district attorney told those families that those autopsies wouldn’t be ready for a year.
‘We were then told that it would be the end of this year.
‘Then we found out they were coming around the corner.’
Body camera footage previously showed how officers were told to stand back as shots continued to be fired inside the elementary school
It was only after Border Patrol agents finally breached the classroom around 1pm that DPS agents started escorting the children out and tending to their wounds
Gutierrez said that keeping the records under seal was a violation of the Open Records Act.
Mitchell, in her request to seal the documents, argued: ‘Open Records Decisions have consistently allowed records to be exempted from release when based on active investigations as well as the potential for litigation exceptions.’
‘For this district attorney to keep these documents away – those families, by law, are entitled to those records.
‘Those records, quite frankly, are open records, under the Open Records Act.
‘But that’s the space we’re in.
‘Everything for the last six months has been hidden by this agency and the people in power to cover up their failures.’
Last week, harrowing 911 calls from inside the school revealed the teachers’ and students’ terror and panic as they desperately waited for police to rescue them.
More than 20 emergency calls, obtained by The Texas Tribune and ProPublica, chronicle the miscommunication.
An initial investigation has since found that state and local law enforcement officials were largely to blame for the mass shooting, as they stood back in the hallways of the elementary school for more than an hour while Ramos continued his massacre.
In one of the 911 calls, 10-year-old Khloie Torres tells dispatchers: ‘I’m in classroom 112. Please hurry, there is a lot of bodies.
‘Please get help, I don’t want to die. My teacher is dead. Oh my God.’
But it took officers more than 40 minutes to act on her plea — only confronting Ramos 70 minutes after his massacre started.
The fourth-grader was eventually able to make it out of the school alive, even as her friends around her died from their gunshot wounds.
During her 911 call, Khloie stayed on the line for more than 17 minutes before she hung up — fearing Ramos was getting closer, ‘taunting’ her and her fellow students.
And when the police did not respond nearly 30 minutes later, the student called again as she hid in classroom 112, asking once more: ‘Can you tell the police to come to my room?’
Khloie Torres, a 10-year-old student at Robb Elementary School, called 911 twice on May 24 to beg for police help as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos continued his rampage
Khloie’s father, Ruben, a former Marine, described her actions that day as ‘incredible.’ Torres was able to survive the mass shooting. Khloie’s final call to police came in at 12.36pm that day, once again telling officers: ‘There’s a school shooting’
An investigation found that state and local police stood back for more than an hour as the gunman continued his rampage
She explained how she tried to help her fellow students and was trying to keep them quiet so as not to alert the shooter — just as her father had taught her.
Ruben, a former Marine, said his daughter’s heroism was ‘incredible’ that day, as he blasted officer’s bungled response.
‘There was no control. That dude had control the entire 77 minutes. The police didn’t go in,’ he told the Tribune. ‘That’s your job: to go in.’
The calls show that officers said they were unaware that anyone was besides the gunman was inside the classrooms.
But in others, even Uvalde schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo seemed well aware there were victims inside classrooms 111 and 112.
The Uvalde School District has since fired its police department, while families and local officials are calling on Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw to resign. He insists his department did nothing wrong.
A minute-by-minute break down of how cops waited outside class while kids called 911
11.28am: Gunman crashes truck, gets out of car with AR-15. He is seen by witnesses in a funeral home next to the school who tell 911 they see a man with a gun walking towards the school
11.31: Gunman is now in the parking lot of the school hiding in between vehicles, shooting at the building
11.32: School resource officer who arrives in a patrol car after hearing 911 call about truck crash drives past the shooter
11.33: Gunman enters the school and begins shooting into room 111/room 112. He shoots more than 100 rounds
11.35: Three police officers enter the same propped-open door as the suspect from the Uvalde PD. They were later followed by another four, making total of seven officers on scene. Three initial officers went directly to the door and got grazing wounds from him while the door was closed. They hang back
11.37: Another 16 rounds fired inside the classroom by the gunman
11.51: Police sergeant and USB agents arrive
12.03: Officers continue to arrive in the hallway. As many as 19 officers in that hallway at that time. At the same time, a girl from inside the classroom calls 911 and whispers that she is in room 112
12.10pm: The same girl calls back and advises ‘there are multiple dead’
12.13pm: The same girl calls again
12.16pm: The same girl calls 911 for the fourth time in 13 minutes asking for help
12.15pm: BORTAC (SWAT) members arrive with shields
12.16pm: The same unidentified girl calls 911 and says there are ‘8-9 students alive’ in classroom 112
12.19pm: A different child from classroom 111 calls. She hangs up when another student tells her to in order to be quiet
12.21pm: Gunman fires again
12.26pm: One of the girls who previously called 911 calls back again. She says the shooter has just ‘shot at the door’
12.43pm: The girl on that girl is still on the line. She says ‘please send the police now’
12.50pm: Police finally breach the door using keys from the janitor and kill gunman
12.51pm Officers start moving children out of the room
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