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Uvalde LE response video shows officers trying to reach family, lawmaker says

An officer who was criticized for checking his phone had been trying to contact his dying wife, a Texas lawmaker said


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By Suzie Ziegler

UVALDE, Texas — On Tuesday, the Austin American-Stateman released the long-awaited 77-minute video of the police response to a mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The video, which shows dozens of armed law enforcement officers waiting in the hallway, has been met with outrage.

Several news outlets lambasted one officer for checking his phone during the active shooting. However, it’s not what it seems, said one Texas lawmaker. State Rep. Joe Moody identified that officer as Ruben Ruiz, the husband of slain teacher Eva Mireles. Moody says Ruiz was using his phone to contact his wife.

“[Mireles] contacted him on his phone from her classroom while he was on-scene to say that she’d been shot and was dying,” Moody wrote on Twitter. “I’d not planned to speak publicly until the report was released, but I couldn’t say nothing seeing this man, who’s lost everything, maligned as if he was indifferent or actively malicious. Context matters.”

Moody went on to say that Ruiz had tried to get to his wife but was disarmed by other officers and removed from the building. That account matches an earlier report from Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“[Ruiz] tried to move forward into the hallway. He was detained, and they took his gun away from him and escorted him off the scene,” McCraw said during a June testimony. It’s unclear who detained Ruiz.

In the video, Ruiz can be seen checking his phone at the 8:30 minute mark. At 9:20, he can faintly be heard saying, “That’s my wife’s classroom.”

Another officer, Felix Rubio, was also seen in the video trying to reach his family. Rubio’s 10-year-old daughter, Alexandria, was killed in the attack. At the 70-minute mark, Ruiz is seen standing in the hallway holding a gun. An officer behind Ruiz is holding onto his vest. A few minutes later, Ruiz receives a phone call and walks down the hallway toward the gunman’s classroom.

A detailed report on the hallway surveillance video is expected to be released Sunday by a Texas House committee, according to KSAT.