Uvalde Officer Criticized For Checking Phone During Shooting: Explained

By Dani Medina

July 15, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

A Uvalde police officer was called out on social media for checking his phone during the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School, as seen in recently-leaked footage of the shooting.

Now, a Texas state representative is coming to his defense and is explaining why the officer was on his phone during the shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

As seen in the surveillance footage released by local news outlets KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman, Ruben Ruiz was among the first officers to enter the hallway at the time of the shooting, according to The Associated Press. When officers are seen retreating as gunshots are fired in a nearby classroom, Ruiz is seen checking his phone.

Rep. Joe Moody explained that Ruiz is the husband of Robb Elementary School teacher Eva Mireles, who was shot and killed that day:

"This is the husband of teacher Eva Mireles, who contacted him on his phone from her classroom while he was on-scene to say that she’d been shot and was dying. 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. To those who haven’t bothered to read even the news that’s been reported in your rush to judgment, he attempted to engage but was removed from the building and disarmed. We’ll have much to say about the police response, but no criticism of this officer."

The released video footage shows Ruiz checking his phone around 11:36 a.m. while standing at the end of the hallway. Three minutes before, the gunman was seen walking down the hallway and entering a classroom. Officials previously said body camera footage showed Ruiz entering the building at 11:48 a.m. entering the building through a side door saying, "She is shot." Ruiz was detained, disarmed and escorted off the scene when he tried to move forward in the hallway, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said.

Moody is a member of a House committee currently investigating the shooting. The committee plans to release its findings Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

You can watch the Uvalde shooting footage here.

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