Who is Juan Maldonado? Texas cop who was among first to respond to Uvalde school massacre fired

Who is Juan Maldonado? Texas cop who was among first to respond to Uvalde school massacre fired
Juan Maldonado was reportedly fired from the state police department on October 21 (Michael M Santiago/Getty Images and Juan Maldonado/Facebook)

UVALDE, TEXAS: The Texas Department of Public Safety has fired Sergeant Juan Maldonado for his poor response to the school shooting in Uvalde. Uvalde police were criticized for their handling of the deadly shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School after shooter Salvador Ramos opened fire. It was reported that police did not enter the school grounds where Ramos recklessly killed the children until more than 90 minutes after they arrived.

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According to reports, Maldonado was released by the State Police on Friday, October 21. However, the agency did not give a specific reason for the dismissal. Maldonado was one of seven state officers under investigation. As reported by the Texas Tribune, he was the highest-ranking trooper to initially appear at the scene.

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Who is Juan Maldonado?

"The department can confirm Sgt Juan Maldonado was served with termination papers today," a spokesperson for Texas DPS said, according to ABC News. Maldonado was a 23-year veteran of the state agency and public information officer for the region. According to his Facebook profile, he attended Raymondville High School and is from Raymondville, Texas.

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New revelations in the case 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 Salvador 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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People visit a memorial for the 19 children and two adults killed on May 24th during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 30, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Visitations for Amerie Jo Garza and Maite Rodriguez, two of the 19 children killed in the May 24th Robb Elementary School mass shooting are being held today. Wakes and funerals for the 21 victims will be scheduled throughout the week.
A memorial for the 19 children and two adults killed on May 24th during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 30, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas (Michael M Santiago/Getty Images)

According to the investigations, apparently, no officer waiting in the hallway during the massacre had checked to see if the door to the classroom was locked. When the officers finally entered the classroom more than an hour after the shooting began, they were not well enough equipped to confront the shooter. It appeared that "effective incident command" was never established between the various law enforcement agencies responding to the shooting.

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Police were sharply criticized for allegedly not ending the shooting quickly enough and not coming to the victims' aid in time. One victim even bled to death while waiting for police help, as a first responder reportedly told his mother. The child reportedly waited for nearly an hour for police to arrive, but eventually succumbed to his injuries, possibly due to the delay. The first responder claimed her child might have survived if the police had been quicker.

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One police officer, Pete Arredondo, 50, came under particular fire. Arredondo came under fire after he allegedly stopped officers from entering a classroom at Robb Elementary School to confront Salvador Ramos, who had killed 21 people before being shot. According to reports, Pete reportedly held officers because he "believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject." He apparently thought the children were not in danger. Ramos was shot and killed by a heroic off-duty Customs and Border Protection agent from an elite tactical unit. The agent killed Ramos before his vicious rampage could claim more lives.

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