A police officer who was hired by the Uvalde school district despite being under investigation for her conduct during the school massacre while a member of the Texas Department of Public Safety has now been fired.
The school district said in a letter Thursday that Crimson Elizondo had been fired effective immediately. The decision to hire Elizondo drew outrage from parents’ of victims of the May 24 school shooting that killed 21 people, including 19 elementary school students.
“We are deeply distressed by the information that was disclosed yesterday evening concerning one of our recently hired employees, Crimson Elizondo,” the school district wrote in the letter. “We sincerely apologize to the victim’s families and the greater Uvalde community for the pain that this revelation has caused.”
ABC News had confirmed Wednesday that Elizondo, a former Texas state trooper now under investigation for her conduct in responding to the Uvalde school shooting rampage, was among the new officers hired for the Uvalde school district police department — the same force that has come under fire for the bungled response to the massacre.
The news was first reported by CNN.
CNN reported Wednesday night Elizondo was the first member of the Texas Department of Public Safety to enter the hallway at Robb Elementary School after the shooter gained entry. A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation confirmed CNN’s report. The trooper did not bring her rifle or vest into the school, according to the results of an internal review by DPS that was detailed to ABC News. As a result of potential failure to follow standard procedures, the trooper was among five DPS personnel whose conduct is now being investigated by the agency’s inspector general. The five have been suspended; the trooper in question resigned from DPS and went to work for the Uvalde schools.
It’s still unclear from the letter whether the school district knew about her conduct during the massacre before hiring her.
Elizondo is the second officer listed on the district’s police webpage.
The official said DPS was not contacted by Uvalde’s school personnel prior to hiring the former trooper.
DPS declined to comment Wednesday. The Uvalde school district did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. The trooper declined to comment to CNN.
Some families of the victims have joined to form a group called Lives Robbed. In a statement tonight, the group said: “We are disgusted and angry at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s (UCISD) decision to hire Officer Crimson Elizondo. Her hiring puts into question the credibility and thoroughness of UCISD’s HR and vetting practices. And it confirms what we have been saying all along: UCISD has not and is not in the business of ensuring the safety of our children at school.”
The statement continues: “We cannot trust the decisions that have been made in regard to the safety of our schools. Therefore, we are calling for all UCISD officers to be suspended, pending the conclusion of the investigation by JPPI Investigations LLC. The results of this investigation must be released to the families of the victims of the Robb Elementary shooting, as well as to the public. Our families have been calling for accountability, and we deserve transparency and justice at the state, local and federal levels. Our children have been taken from us. We will not stop fighting until we have answers and we ensure the safety of the children in our community is the top priority.”
Questions were also raised about the district’s pre-hiring vetting of Pete Arredondo, the former district police chief who has been blamed for much of the bungled shooting response and has been fired because of it. He had been demoted in a previous job, and critics contend that work history was not taken into account when the district hired him to run its police force.
The practice of police officers switching jobs and jurisdictions despite concerns raised in prior posts has become a concern nationally. Some have called for the creation of national standards and databases that would enable prospective employers to learn quickly whether a cop has anything potentially disqualifying in their employment history.