Last week the image of Officer Ruben Ruiz checking his phone in the hallway of Robb Elementary school made the rounds on Twitter. Taken out of context that image made a lot of people really angry because it looked as if Ruiz was checking his likes on Instagram instead of confronting the shooter. But as I explained here, Officer Ruiz was checking his phone because his wife Eva Mireles was a teacher in the school. He was getting messages from her. At one point, Ruiz left the hallway, apparently to take a call, and returned saying, “My wife’s shot.” Here’s that moment from the surveillance video released last week:
Ruiz’s wife had in fact been shot and though she was still alive when police finally broke in and killed the shooter, she died before making it to the hospital.
There was also a story which had been circulating since June 21 claiming that Ruiz had returned and tried to get to his wife but that he was turned away by other officers:
A Uvalde school police officer whose wife was killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting was detained and had his gun taken away as he tried to enter the hallway outside the classroom where his wife lay dying, Texas’ top law enforcement official said Tuesday.
Ruben Ruiz, an officer with the Uvalde CISD police department, was then escorted from the scene of last month’s massacre after having his weapon seized, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told a state Senate committee. McCraw said Ruiz was detained and had his gun taken by other law enforcement officials, though he did not specify which agency did so.
That story hadn’t been contradicted but you couldn’t see it happen in the initial surveillance video that was released. However, today there’s a clip making the rounds which does indeed show Ruiz re-entering the hallway. He says, “She says she’s shot…” referring to his wife. He’s pulled back and sent out of the building.
So that confirms the gist of the story. We don’t see Ruiz being disarmed but clearly he’s pretty distraught. According to the timecode, this happened at 11:56. So here’s the timeline I created earlier with this added to it:
- The shooter enters the school at 11:33.
- Police enter the school about 11:36:00 and move down the hall toward the shooter.
- Ruiz is seen entering about 11:36:17, just seconds later.
- Ruiz checks his phone at 11:36:50.
- Shots fired by the gunman drive the officers back down the hall at 11:36:59.
- Ruiz checks his phone again at 11:37:17. He turns and walks out.
- At 11:37:41, he returns and says “My wife’s shot” to the cops in the hallway.
- About a minute later he walks out of the hallway.
- At 11:56:19, Officer Ruiz enters and says, “She says she’s shot.” He’s ushered out.
Officer Ruiz waited more than 15 minutes for police to do something and when nothing happened he tried to act but was stopped by the officers who were supposedly handling it. He, like the parents outside the school who were being told to stay back by police, knew something needed to be done but couldn’t get past the cloud of officers who were waiting around doing nothing. Unfortunately, as I pointed out yesterday, Chief Pete Arredondo had already decided this was a barricade situation where his job was to keep the shooter from leaving not to go in and kill him.