Jose Flores grinned wide and held up an honor roll certificate as he posed during an academic ceremony on Tuesday morning. The fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School in Texas was wearing a blue T-shirt in the photo, which was snapped hours before a teenager with a semi-automatic rifle entered his classroom and gunned down little kids.
That shirt, one relative told The Daily Beast, was later used to identify his body.
Jose’s uncle, Christopher Salazar, says that he and the boy’s father searched for hours for his 10-year-old nephew after the massacre at the Uvalde school. Alyssa, Jose’s mother and Salazar’s sister, was away on a work trip when the shooting claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers and chaos unfolded in the tight-knit community. Jose was Alyssa’s oldest child.
When the boy’s father, Jose Sr., and Salazar were finally informed the child was dead, authorities strongly advised them not to see the body, Salazar says.
“We couldn’t hold him or hug him or nothing,” Salazar said. “They said it was too ugly. His body was supposedly torn to pieces. The only way they identified him was because of his clothes and a scar on his left foot.” (In an interview with CNN, Jose Sr. said that a Texas Ranger told him, “As a father, I wouldn’t let you go back there and see him, because he was not recognizable.”)
Earlier that day, Salazar said, Jose’s dad received a photo from school of the honor roll event. The father didn’t know the ceremony was taking place, so he didn’t go.
But once the dad got word that shots were fired at his son’s school, he left work and rushed to the building. “They didn’t let us go in,” Salazar said of the police.
Now Salazar is questioning whether cops responded to the scene quickly enough—especially in light of newly released video showing parents desperately pleading with officers to take action as the mass shooting took place inside for about 40 minutes.
Javier Cazares, the father of Jacklyn Cazares, who died in the attack, told the Associated Press that he and other parents wanted to charge into the building. “Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to. More could have been done,” he said. He added of local law enforcement: “They were unprepared.”
Salazar agrees, telling The Daily Beast, “There was a lot of failure.”
“They didn’t want to go in there,” Salazar said of the police. “Me, if that guy was still alive, I would have went in and got him myself.”
“The police from Uvalde were standing way in the back, instead of standing closer, like the Border Patrol and SWAT team. The cops from here in Uvalde were standing back like they didn’t know what to do.”
“Instead of being in front and being for the kids, they weren’t,” Salazar added. “I am kind of angry. If I saw somebody with a gun going into Robb, I would have tried to do something.”
Angeli Rose Gomez, who has two sons at Robb Elementary School,…
Read Full Story At: The Daily Beast.