One of the officers who attended to the mass shooting in Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School was detained after he attempted to enter one of the classrooms following a phone call from his bleeding wife who was inside, said a top official of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Steven McCraw, the department’s director, told state senators on Tuesday that school district police officer Ruben Ruiz was outside the classrooms where the shooting was taking place when he received a call from his wife Eva Mireles, confirming earlier reports of the incident.
Mireles had been shot by 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos, and later died of her wounds.
Mr McCraw said the slain teacher had called her husband shortly after she was shot and told him that “she had been shot and was dying,” reported KWTX.
“(Ruiz) tried to move forward into the hallway,” Mr McCraw was quoted as saying.
“He was detained and they took his gun away from him and escorted him off the scene.”
Mr McCraw did not reveal which agency’s officials removed Mr Ruiz from the school premises.
Earlier The New York Times had reported the fourth-grade teacher’s conversation with her husband before she was killed by Ramos.
Ramos murdered Mireles and another teacher, as well as 19 students that day, marking the worst shooting incident in Texas’s history.
“She’s in the classroom and he’s outside. It’s terrifying,” Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell had said to The New York Times after being briefed on it by sheriff’s deputies.
“He was talking to his wife. Whether that was conveyed to [Uvalde police chief Pete] Arredondo or anyone else, I don’t know,” he added.
Mireles’s aunt Lydia Martinez Delgado also said: “He could not go into the classroom where all the shooting victims were at.”
Police action on the day of the shooting has come under the scanner with parents and eyewitnesses alleging the police waited to go inside the classroom while the shooting was underway.
Calling the police action on that day an “abject failure” Mr McCraw told the state senate on Tuesday that police at the scene had enough officers and firepower to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building.
He added that the police would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up was unlocked if they had bothered to check it.