Uvalde’s acting police chief knew kids were alive and trapped: audio

Uvalde’s acting police chief knew kids were alive and trapped: audio

The acting police chief in charge during the Uvalde school massacre knew there were “eight to nine” children alive and in need of rescuing — roughly 40 minutes before officers finally went in to help them, new audio has revealed.

The recording, obtained by CNN, captures acting Uvalde Police Chief Lt. Mariano Pargas being informed by a dispatcher that there was a room “full of victims” some 45 minutes after 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos stormed into Robb Elementary and opened fire on May 24.

Pargas — who was suspended amid a probe into the blundering police response to the massacre — was relayed details of the horrifying 911 call fourth-grader Khloie Torres had made just minutes earlier from inside a classroom.

“The calls you got in from the … from one of the students, what did they say?” Pargas could be heard asking as he spoke to the dispatcher at 12:16 p.m., according to CNN.

The dispatcher responded: “OK, Khloie’s going to be, it’s Khloie. She’s in Room 112, Mariano, 112.”

Acting Uvalde Police Chief Lt. Mariano Pargas
Acting Uvalde Police Chief Lt. Mariano Pargas was reportedly told children needed to be rescued from inside Robb Elementary roughly 40 minutes before officers stormed in to help them.
CNN

When Pargas asked how many kids are still alive, the dispatcher said: “Eight to nine are still alive. She’s not too sure … She’s not too sure how many are actually DOA or possibly injured. We’re trying …”

Just before hanging up, the acting police chief told the dispatcher: “OK, OK thanks.”

Surveillance video obtained by the outlet showed Pargas, who was the Uvalde Police Department’s top-ranking official that day, leaving the hallway near Room 112 at about 12.20 p.m. and not returning.

Cops didn’t get into the classroom to kill the gunman for another 30 minutes.

In the 77 minutes the shooter was holed up inside the school, he slaughtered 19 students and two teachers.

An image of the dispatcher audio call
Lt. Mariano Pargas asked a dispatcher how many children were still alive inside the classroom after they received a 911 call from a fourth-grader.
CNN

The police response — or lack of it — sparked mass outrage in the wake of the shooting. Multiple investigations were also launched, which led to Pargas being suspended.

When Pargas was contacted about the audio, he said he wasn’t able to comment based on guidance from his lawyers.

“I want to defend myself. I really do,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff that I can explain, that I would love to defend myself. And that’s the problem we’re having right now … the victims and everybody’s saying everything they want to say, but we can’t say nothing because we were told not to talk to, you know, we can’t say anything cause we’re still under that, not to talk to any, media or anything.”

He added: “It’s not that we’re afraid because there’s nothing to be afraid of. We did what we could, but the thing is that we’ve been told that we can’t [speak publicly].”