AUSTIN, Texas – Jazmin Cazares, the sister of Uvalde shooting victim Jacklyn Cazares, testified in front of the Texas House of Representatives Thursday on behalf of her sister and cousin, Annabell Rodriguez, another victim of the massacre.
“On the day of May 24, I lost my little sister Jackie Cazares. She is one of the sweetest souls anyone, anyone will ever meet would bring a smile on anyone’s faces,” Jazmin said. “We’re all in shock when we receive the news of her passing and we’re still in shock, especially as we continue to receive new information that shows a lot of things that happened that day could have been prevented.”
Jazmin told the House representatives that instead of watching movies over the summer with her sister as she should be, she had been reviewing the preventative security measures for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District — policies she says the district uses to protect the community against tragedies like the Robb Elementary School mass shooting.
But they weren’t enough.
“Increased numbers of prepared officers or security staff at the elementary school grounds could and would have saved lives,” said Jazmin.
Those officers include embattled UCISD chief Pete Arredondo who has been primarily blamed for the “abject failure” and delayed response to the massacre, as well as officer Ruben Ruiz, the husband of shooting victim Eva Mireles.
Ruiz was on the scene after the gunman entered the school and opened fire. His wife called him and said she had been shot and was dying but Ruiz was detained and had his gun taken away when he tried to save her from the classroom.
During her testimony, Jazmin asked the representatives to implement red flag laws and questioned why classroom doors didn’t lock, despite that being a safety measure in the campus policy.
“Just days before the shooting, he [the gunman] posted ‘ten more days’ [on social media] and a picture of his guns. If these measures would have been adequately invested in, people on staff surveying these threats on social media, by the shooter, could have been flagged and his firearm would or could have been confiscated before putting my community in harm’s way,” said Jazmin.
At the same time as Jazmin’s testimony, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a major expansion of gun rights, allowing Americans to carry firearms in public for self-defense.
The Associated Press reported on the ruling, which “struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to carry one in public.”
President Biden released a statement saying he is “deeply disappointed” by the ruling.
“This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” Biden said. “In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.”
Jazmin ended her testimony by saying there “should be absolutely no reason this murderer could have access to a firearm. Days after turning 18, he bought an AR-15, hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Background checks are needed to protect innocent communities like mine from being endangered by people who are unstable and signal that they are threats.”
She asked the representatives to honor the life of her sister, her sister’s friends and their families by passing gun safety legislation.
The girls’ father, Javier Cazares, previously spoke with the Associated Press and said “they are all gone now. All her little best friends were killed too.”
WATCH: NIGHTBEAT INTERVIEW WITH JAZMIN CAZARES