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Sister of Uvalde victim begs Texas lawmakers for gun reform: ‘Do something’

The teenage sister of a nine-year-old girl killed in the Uvalde mass shooting has pleaded with Texas lawmakers to pass gun control laws as she burst into tears, revealing she is now “ terrified” about going back to school for her senior year.

Jazmin Cazares gave heartbreaking testimony before the Texas House Committee on Mass Violence and Public Safety on Thursday morning, where she described the loss of her younger sister Jacklyn and cousin Annabell Rodriguez in the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School.

Dressed in a shirt with her little sister’s picture on it, she said she was there to honor those killed in the attack and challenged lawmakers that “you can also honor them by passing child safety legislation. fire arms”.

“I’m here to beg you to do something and change something because the people who were supposed to keep him safe at school didn’t,” she said.

“They missed.”

She called on Texas lawmakers to pass background check legislation and red flag laws to “protect innocent communities like mine from being put at risk by people who are unstable and report that they are threat”.

“There should be no reason why this murderer could have had access to a gun,” she said.

“A few days after turning 18, he bought an AR-15, hundreds of cartridges. »

Through her grief, the teenager said she is ‘terrified for her life’ as she decides to return to school to complete her studies in the next school year.

“Will I survive?” she asked.

Asked about the active fire drills, Ms Cazares said her school was often in lockdown so ‘usually nobody took it seriously – until this day’.

“We were in lockdown, so the only information we got was from the media,” she said.

“It was terrifying…and having to go back to school next year…I don’t know.”

“It’s a really big decision and going to school shouldn’t be a big decision, but it is. I’m afraid that my life will begin again.

“I have a senior year and that’s it. Will I survive it? she asked.

Jackie Cazares is one of 21 victims killed in the Uvalde massacre

(Family document via Reuters)

The joint committee meeting of the Texas Legislature was called to discuss legislative solutions in the wake of last month’s mass shooting, in which 21 victims were shot.

Jacklyn – nicknamed ‘Jackie’ – was one of 19 young students aged between 9 and 11 who were killed alongside two teachers in America’s worst school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012.

Ms Cazares choked with emotion as she paid tribute to her little sister as “an exact copy of me” who “loved to sing, dance and act”.

Instead of being home together to enjoy the summer holidays as they should be, she had to be there today to call on lawmakers to prevent other families from being torn apart by gun violence.

“This morning around 5:30 a.m. I sat on my sister’s bed and cried. I cried and I cried,” she said.

“Maybe a minute later I wiped away my tears, got in the car and traveled 4 hours to get here.

“I shouldn’t have to be here…I’m not supposed to be here right now.” I’m supposed to be at home watching a movie with my sister. It’s summer,” she said.

Jackie had wanted to go to Paris for her degree, Ms Cazares told lawmakers. She now plans to go in honor of her sister when she graduates from school next year.

In the aftermath of the massacre, their father Javier Cazares explained how he rushed to school when he heard reports of a shooting.

Mr Cazares begged the police to storm the school and, frustrated by the agonizing wait, he was prevented from taking matters into his own hands and saving his daughter.

“A lot of us were arguing with the police, ‘You all have to go. You all have to do your job,” he said The Washington Post at the time.

“We were ready to go to work and rush.”

Jazmin Cazares speaks to the Texas Legislature on Thursday

(CSPAN)

Law enforcement’s response to the massacre is now the focus of multiple local, state and federal investigations, as it emerged officers waited a staggering 77 minutes from the start of the shooting to the time they entered the classroom and shot gunman Salvador Ramos. .

The late response is believed to have cost the lives of a teacher who died in an ambulance on her way to hospital and three children who succumbed to their injuries after arriving at hospital.

On Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) Director Steve McCraw told a Texas Senate hearing that there were enough armed officers at the scene to arrest the shooter for just three minutes after the shooting started.

But, instead, law enforcement waited another hour, 14 minutes and eight seconds as the on-scene commander, Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, did not respond. sent agents into the classroom.

“Three minutes after the subject entered the western corridor, there were a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor, to isolate, distract and incapacitate the subject,” he said.

“The only thing stopping a corridor of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to put the lives of the officers ahead of the lives of the children.

“The officers had weapons. The children had none. The officers had bulletproof vests. The children had none.

“The agents have undergone training. Subject had none.

Mr McCraw, who is leading a state investigation into the law enforcement response, called the response a “dismal failure” as he said Chief Arredondo waited for radios, guns and keys rather than sending officers to the two adjoining classrooms.

Chief Arredondo previously said much of the delay was due to him waiting for the keys to the classroom door.

This was disputed by Mr McCraw who said the investigation so far indicates the door was unlocked but surveillance footage reveals no officer tried the door handle to see if it was open.

Even though the door was locked, law enforcement had access within minutes to a crowbar tool that could have been used to pry the door open, he testified.

On Wednesday evening, Chief Arredondo was placed on administrative leave as investigations continue.


The Independent Gt

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