KEY POINTS

  • Ruben Ruiz is an officer with the school police department in Uvalde
  • Ruiz received a call from his dying wife asking for help
  • Some officials detained him and escorted him off the scene when he attempted to help

Uvalde, Texas, -- A police officer was detained, had his gun taken away and escorted off the scene when he tried to save his wife who was shot, a senior law enforcement official said at a Senate hearing on police response to the Uvalde school shooting incident, which claimed many lives last month.

The officer's wife, Eva Mireles, was a teacher at Robb Elementary school. Ruben Ruiz, who is an officer with the school police department in Uvalde, responded to the scene on May 14 after receiving reports of the mass shooting. Ruiz also received a call from his 44-year-old wife, who was shot while she was in room 112, asking for help, NBC News reported.

Although Ruiz attempted to save his dying wife, he was removed from the scene, Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, pointed out during the Senate hearing.

"We got an officer, Officer Ruiz, whose wife had called him and said she (had) been shot and she's dying. What happened to him as he tried to move forward into the hallway, he was detained and they took his gun away from him and escorted him off the scene," McCraw said in a video shared by PBS NewsHour.

However, it was not clear officers from which department removed Ruiz from the scene.

McCraw also noted that the law enforcement response to the Uvalde school shooting was "an abject failure" and "terrible decisions" were made by the onsite commander who placed the lives of officers over those of the children.

The biggest problem in the police response was "not only the lack of leadership but also the misinformation that's being provided," McCraw said.

"What officers were being told was, 'The subject is contained, the chief is in the classroom or the office, negotiating or talking to the subject.' So everyone is treating it, that comes in afterward, you're in the hallway and you're looking at it, and you're being told this, there's no reason to discount that," McCraw explained. "Now, certainly if you heard, 'Well, wait a minute, we're getting 911 calls from children in the classroom.' And we didn't know the timeline."

A few months before the tragic mass shooting that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, Ruiz had conducted a mock drill at the school.

Amid widespread criticism for the delayed police response to the shooting, the school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, was placed on administrative leave. He will be replaced by Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the school's superintendent said in a statement Wednesday. A girl lays flowers at a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 28, 2022 A girl lays flowers at a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 28, 2022 Photo: AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA