Uvalde a mixture of pride and anger as he laments the school attack

UVALDE, Texas – Days after a local man broke into an elementary school and killed 19 children and two teachers before officers managed to kill him, signs of local pain, solidarity and pride are everywhere in Uvalde.

Many wear a garnet dress, the color of the Uvalde school district. And light blue ribbons adorn the giant oaks that shade the city’s central square, where mourners flock to lay flowers around a fountain and write messages on wooden crosses bearing the victims’ names. In front of a daycare center on one of the city’s main streets, 21 wooden chairs sit empty.

Everyone in the predominantly Latin city of about 16,000 people seems to know someone whose life was turned upside down by losing a family member or close friend in the Robb Elementary School attack, which was one of the deadliest of its kind.

Joe Ruiz, pastor of Christian Temple, said a teacher who is a friend of his wife – himself a former Uvalde teacher – best summed up the mood of the community by saying that people “shouted everything” they could and are now just tired and you need to rest.

Police have been widely criticized for waiting more than 45 minutes to confront the 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, in adjoining classrooms where he unleashed carnage.

As the investigation into the bombing continues, including Ramos’ motives for carrying it out, some residents have expressed their anger towards the police. Among them is carpenter Juan Carranza, 24, who said he saw the attack from across the school street. The next day he called the officers cowards.

Steven McCraw, who heads the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday that school district police chief Pete Arredondo made the “wrong decision” to wait so long before sending officers to closed classrooms. He said Arredondo, who was in charge of law enforcement response during the siege, believed Ramos was trapped inside the two adjoining classrooms and that the children were no longer at risk. Arredondo, a graduate of Uvalde High School and recently elected to the City Council, has not spoken publicly since McCraw criticized his decision-making and his home now has a police guard.

Oasis Outback, where Ramos bought his weapons, remained open and his barbecue restaurant did its usual business on Friday night. The gun shop located at the back of its sporting goods section has been temporarily closed out of respect for the families of the victims, according to a posted sign.

An Oasis employee who declined to give her full name said the store received angry calls blaming her for the attack, but the phone numbers of those calling were not from the area.

Support for gun rights is strong in Uvalde, which is about halfway between San Antonio and the border town of Del Rio. But some parents and relatives of the victims are calling for a change.

“I don’t know how people can sell that kind of weapon to an 18-year-old boy. What is he going to use it for? But said Syria Arizmendi, a fifth-grader whose niece, Eliahna Garcia, was killed. his dining room shortly before Eliahna’s great-grandparents, also residents of Uvalde, arrived.

Javier Carranza, a 43-year-old gun owner and Army veteran whose daughter Jacklyn was killed, said it was “a little ridiculous” to sell that firepower to an 18-year-old and that better background checks were needed.

Uvalde lies among the flat fields of cabbage, onions, carrots, corn, and peppers, but mechanized agriculture has replaced many jobs. Building materials companies are among their most coveted employers.

The city is home to a Border Patrol station that operates a road checkpoint and oversees freight trains in what has suddenly become one of the busiest corridors for illegal crossings. A massive Haitian migrant camp that erupted under a bridge in Del Rio last year has been in the news around the world.

Many residents can trace the presence of their family in Uvalde through three or four generations, creating a cherished sense of community. One Friday night each month, the shops remain open until late and the food vendors occupy the central square outside a neoclassical court.

“Uvalde Strong” messages adorn the shop windows, t-shirts, and lawn signs. Sidewalks and sidewalks are less common the further away from the central square, with roosters walking along cracked sidewalks near Robb Elementary School.

Ruiz, the parish priest of the Crisitano Temple, whose children and grandchildren live in Uvalde, asks the new parishioners about their ancestry to get to know them better.

Prior to Tuesday, occasional traffic deaths were the biggest tragedies Uvalde has ever suffered.

“We’ve had people killed, but not on a massive scale like this,” said Tony Gruber, pastor of Baptist Temple Church.

Uvalde a mixture of pride and anger as he laments the school attack

Source link Uvalde a mixture of pride and anger as he laments the school attack

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