Who is Eric Gonzales? Uvalde cop, 30, who used hand sanitizer during massacre got bronze star for valor

A shocking video that was recently released showed clippings of police officers delaying their response to the shooting


                            Who is Eric Gonzales? Uvalde cop, 30, who used hand sanitizer during massacre got bronze star for valor
Eric Gonzales was seen calmly using hand sanitizer as Salvador Ramos slaughtered children (The Austin-American Statesman screenshot)
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UVALDE, TEXAS: The identity of the Uvalde cop who was seen calmly using hand sanitizer as Salvador Ramos slaughtered children has been revealed. Uvalde County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Gonzales, 30, was seen in a video using hand sanitizer as the gunman killed 19 children and two teachers, while another officer restrained distressed cop father whose daughter studied at Robb Elementary School. The child ended up being murdered by Ramos.

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The Daily Mail, which revealed Gonzales' identity, recently spotted the cop attending mass Sunday at the Getty Street Church of Christ in Uvalde, with his wife and two children. He was seen leaving the mass and opening the door of his black Chevy Silverado for his wife and daughter before driving off. He was spotted going to the local Dairy Queen, through the drive-thru and then spending about 30 minutes in the parking lot. He was finally seen heading back home. When a Daily Mail reporter attempted to talk to him about the events at the school and why he used sanitizer, he refused to speak and sped off. 

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A shocking video that was recently released showed clippings of police officers delaying their response to the shooting. The 77-minute video revealed how cops waited for more than an hour before finally stopping Ramos. In the video, Gonzales is seen wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest over his checkered shirt. As the shooting continues, he takes hand sanitizer from a wall mounted dispenser and rubs it on his hands. 

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Who is Eric Gonzales?

Eric Gonzales lives with his wife and two children just two miles from Robb Elementary School, In December 2020, he reportedly received a bronze star for valor and bravery in the line of duty. The award followed an incident where the cop exchanged gunfire with a suspect, who is a registered sex offender. 

In an email to the Daily Mail, Gonzales' boss, Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco, defended him. "In preparation and prior t breaching, , the medics on sight asked Deputy Gonzales to assist. Since he had no gloves he was told to sanitize his hands," he wrote. However, the video does not seem to show Gonzales "assisting a medical team" and in fact, he is seen placing his left hand on the wall seconds after using sanitizer. This would theoritically mean he contaminated his hand again.

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The publication has revealed the identities of some of the other Uvalde officers who were at the scene when the attack took place, including Uvalde Police Lt. Javier Martinez, 53; Sgt. Eddie Canales, 37; Detective Louis Landry, 36; Venture 'Ben' Chapa, 31; Lt. Mariano Pargas, 64; Detective Renato Russell Lualemaga, 30; and Uvalde School District officer Ruben Ruiz, 43. Ruiz was the cop who was seen checking his phone with a 'Punisher' wallpaper during the massacre, and who turned out to be slain teacher Eva Mireles' husband.

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When approched by the publication, Javier Martinez said she was not allowed to speak as this was an ongoing investigation. "I can assure you sir we are not cowards, but we are not allowed to talk to you. Sir, when the investigation is over, I would be glad to talk to you guys, but if I talk to you guys, I could be prosecuted, and I don't want to be prosecuted," he said. 

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Mariano Pargas, meanwhile, was placed on administrative leave on Sunday, July 17, by Uvalde City Mayor Don McLaughlin after a state report blasted the police response to the shooting. On the day of the massacre, Pargas was the acting Police Chief. "This administrative leave is to investigate whether Lt. Pargas was responsible for taking command on May 24, what specific actions Lt. Pargas took to establish that command, and whether it was even feasible given all the agencies involved and other possible policy violations," McLaughlin said.

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Wooden crosses are placed at a memorial dedicated to the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on June 3, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24 after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire inside the school. Wakes and funerals for the 21 victims are scheduled throughout the week.
Wooden crosses are placed at a memorial dedicated to the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Another cop who arrived at the school on the day of the shooting, Max Dorflinger, was terminated by the Uvalde County Sheriff, after which he began working with the Uvalde Police Department, where he is still employed. 

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Meanwhile, new revelations in the case have suggested that two police officers missed their chance at possibly saving the lives of the 19 children and two teachers who were brutally slaughtered by Ramos. Ramos, 18, was reportedly spotted with a rifle by an officer before he entered Elementary School. The officer radioed for permission to shoot, but reportedly never got an answer. When the officer asked the supervisor for permission to open fire, the supervisor "either did not hear or responded too late." The officer turned around to see that Ramos had already gone inside "unabated". A report released by Texas State University said another responding officer failed to stop Ramos as he was walking in the parking lot, towards the school. The officer reportedly sped past the shooter at a "high rate of speed" and missed him armed with a rifle. 

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Community members mourn together at a vigil for the 21 victims in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 25, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen students and two adults were killed, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement.
Community members mourn together at a vigil for the 21 victims(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

According to their findings, it appeared as though no officer waiting in the hallway during the massacre tested to check if the door to the classroom was locked. It also found that when officers finally entered the classroom, over an hour after the shooting began, they were not equipped well enough to confront the gunman. It appeared as though "effective incident command" was never established among the various law enforcement agencies that responded to the shooting.

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Police have faced sharp criticism for allegedly failing to stop the shooting quickly enough and come to the victims' rescue on time. In fact, a victim bled to death as she waited for police to come to the rescue, a first-responder allegedly told her mother. The child reportedly waited for nearly an hour for cops to arrive, but eventually succumbed to her injuries possibly because of the delay. The first-responder reportedly claimed her child may have lived if the police had been quicker. It was reported that they did not breach the school for more than 90 minutes after arriving on the campus where Ramos was ruthlessly killing the children. Ramos was shot dead by an off-duty Customs and Border Protection agent from an elite tactical unit. The agent killed Ramos before his rampage could claim more lives.

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