Law enforcement agencies from across Texas come to help in Uvalde

In the days that have followed the deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary, law enforcement across the state is coming to the city’s aid.

UVALDE, Texas – Law enforcement from across the state of Texas is showing up for the city of Uvalde in the days following a deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

All of their cruisers were lined up in rows out in the Garner Field Airport parking lot on Saturday.

”So I’m with Ingram Police Department,” Officer Mario Ruiz said.

”I’m a lieutenant with the Hempstead Police Department,” Lt. Noel Shelton said.

As of Saturday afternoon, 57 agencies and more than 180 officers were in the city to help after the shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

”Without question, I wanted to come here for the officers. Now that I’ve been here, I’m overwhelmed with the community,” Lt. Shelton said.

Sergeant Adrian Ruiz and Chief Homer Delgado with the Dilley Police Department led the effort to get the departments here. They put out a call to action with the Texas Police Chiefs Association.

”He called us back and said, ‘are y’all ready for what I’m sending?’ and we said, ‘yes please do. Please send them,’” Chief Delgado said.

Uvalde County Emergency Management made the space at the airport available for headquarters and a local college offered to provide lodging space for officers.

Bexar County Emergency Management donated a trailer for dispatch to work out of, as did Medina County.

More officers from other departments are still on their way. Some will be relieving officers that have been here for several days already.

For some that have arrived, it’s more personal.

“Got the notification that an active shooter situation was going on at my elementary school. So that hit close to home when I heard about it and immediately I knew where I wanted to be when I had the opportunity to be here,” Officer Mario Ruiz said. He was born and raised in Uvalde.

“My children were in that school as well so I understand what it felt like for those families not knowing,” Sgt. Adrian Ruiz said.

They’re all here for the same reason -- to take over duties and allow the community, the people, their time and resources to mourn, grieve and begin to heal.

“I don’t want this to be about us and what we’re doing with one another for them. It’s about them and preventing this from ever occurring again,” Lt. Shelton said.

The law enforcement mission is called Operation Coyote Over Watch. It’s in honor of the high school’s mascot.

Sgt. Ruiz said the departments will be in the city as long as they’re needed, no matter how long it takes.

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About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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