The identity of the Uvalde officer who used hand sanitizer while a gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers down the hall can now be revealed – as he’s seen for the first time since the deadly shooting.
DailyMail.com can reveal the officer dubbed ‘hand sanitizer cop’ is Uvalde County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Gonzales, 30. Exclusive photos show Gonzales attending mass Sunday at the Getty Street Church of Christ in Uvalde, Texas, with his wife and two children.
Upon leaving the morning mass, the casually-dressed cop opened the door of his black Chevy Silverado for his young daughter and wife. He then drove to the local Dairy Queen, went through the drive-thru and spent about 30 minutes in the parking lot before heading back home.
When he arrived home, a DailyMail.com reporter attempted to speak with him about the events at Robb Elementary and why he used hand sanitizer. He waved the reporter off and instructed his family to get back into his truck and sped off.
DailyMail.com can also exclusively reveal the identities of the first seven police officers who arrived just minutes after shooter Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary. Within a minute, these officers encountered gunfire from Ramos and quickly backed away.
The officers failed to subdue the shooter and have faced harsh criticism from the public and fellow law enforcement officials. They were found to have ignored the mandate developed after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre that states officers must immediately confront active shooters.
DailyMail.com can reveal the ‘hand sanitizer cop’ is Uvalde County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Gonzales, 30
Gonzales can be seen in the video wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest over his checkered shirt and then taking a squirt of hand sanitizer from a wall mounted dispenser and rubbing it on his hands
Gonzales then takes cover behind a corner of the wall placing his left hand up on the wall
Exclusive photos show Gonzales attending mass Sunday at the Getty Street Church of Christ in Uvalde with his wife and two children
Gonzales lives with his wife and two kids in Uvalde, just two miles from Robb Elementary School, DailyMail.com can reveal
Upon leaving the morning mass, the casually-dressed deputy opened the door of his black Chevy Silverado for his young daughter
Gonzales’ actions – or inactions – during the shooting caused outrage after a 77-minute video of the shooting was released last week.
The video shows several Uvalde Police officers arrive at the scene just minutes after shooter Ramos entered the school and began firing more than 100 rounds.
Shooter Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two adults before he was shot dead
Gonzales can be seen in the video wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest over his checkered shirt and then taking a squirt of hand sanitizer from a wall mounted dispenser and rubbing it on his hands.
One Twitter user wrote, ‘Would love to hear from this Uvalde cop why he was worried about putting on hand sanitizer while a shooter was massacring kids twenty feet down the hall.’
Gonzales lives with his wife and two kids in Uvalde, just two miles from Robb Elementary School, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Ironically, in December 2020 Deputy Gonzales received a bronze star for valor and bravery in the line of duty after he exchanged gunfire with a suspect who later turned out to be a registered sex offender.
It was noted that the deputy ‘displayed exemplary conduct and took care of the lives of others.’
His boss, Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco, defended Gonzales in an email to DailyMail.com. ‘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.’
In the video, Deputy Gonzales does not appear to be ‘assisting a medical team’ as claimed by Sheriff Nolasco, and seconds after he used the hand sanitizer he places his left hand on the wall, which would theoretically contaminate that hand.
DailyMail.com reached out to Sheriff Nolasco on that point but he has yet to reply.
The first to arrive inside the school at 11.36am, just three minutes after the shooter entered, was Uvalde Police Lt. Javier Martinez, 53, (left) followed by Sgt. Eddie Canales, 37, (right). Martinez is a 27-year veteran of the Uvalde Police Department and has had active shooter response training. Sgt. Canales has 15 years of experience
Among the first officers to enter Robb Elementary was Detective Renato Russell Lualemaga, 30
Cpl. Louis Landry (left) was one of the first to arrive. Seconds later four more Uvalde officers entered the area, including Venture ‘Ben’ Chapa, 31, (right)
Lt. Mariano Pargas, 64, was acting chief the day of the shooting. DailyMail.com contacted Lt. Pargas as his house and he looked disheveled and tired. He said, ‘I’m not allowed to talk to anybody’
Another Uvalde Police Officer who arrived at Robb Elementary was Max Dorflinger, 34, a nine-year veteran
Max Dorflinger is seen in the 77-minute video as one of the cops who stood by
On his Facebook on October 14, 2020, Dorflinger posted, ‘Every peace officer should be competent in ground fighting techniques.’ Then in December 2020 he posted a termination letter from the Uvalde County Sheriff Department. He wrote, ‘well guys after 15 years with the Sheriff’s Office I got this in the mail. I’m sure there’s a few local crooks that will be sleeping easier in Uvalde County’
The identities of the first seven cops to arrive to Robb Elementary can also be revealed by DailyMail.com.
The first to arrive inside the school at 11.36am, just three minutes after the shooter entered, was Uvalde Police Lt. Javier Martinez, 53, followed by Sgt. Eddie Canales, 37, and Detective Louis Landry, 36. Martinez and Canales walked down the hallway near the classroom where the shooter had entered.
Seconds later, four more Uvalde officers entered the area, Venture ‘Ben’ Chapa, 31, Lt. Mariano Pargas, 64, (who was acting Chief that day), Detective Renato Russell Lualemaga, 30, and Uvalde School District officer Ruben Ruiz, 43, whose wife Eva Mireles was one of two teachers killed in the shooting.
At 11.37am several more shots were fired. Martinez, Canales and Landry retreated from outside the classroom where the shooter was located to down the hallway where they were safe.
Martinez is a 27-year veteran of the Uvalde Police Department and has had active shooter response training.
He told DailyMail.com exclusively, ‘I would like to speak with you, but the investigation is still ongoing.’
He was then asked about allegations by other law enforcement throughout the country that the police acted as ‘cowards.’
Martinez said, ‘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.’
Canales has 15 years of experience. His personnel records show he took a School-Based Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Mandate in December 2021. He is also on the Uvalde PD SWAT team.
When DailyMail.com approached him at his house, he said, ‘No comment, please go away.’
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Officer Ruben Ruiz, 43, is the husband of slain teacher Eva Mireles, 44
Ruben Ruiz is seen in the video checking his phone while Ramos’ rampage is ongoing. The officer’s background image shows the pro-police symbol The Punisher
Landry has been a police officer for more than 10 years. Personnel records show he took several courses in active shooter prep and response course in October and November 2021. He is also a member of the Uvalde SWAT team. He refused to comment when contacted by DailyMail.com.
Chapa, who has 10 years of law enforcement experience, didn’t reply to DailyMail.com attempts to contact him.
Pargas, the acting Police Chief that day for the Uvalde Police Department, has 22-years of law enforcement experience.
On Sunday, Uvalde City Mayor Don McLaughlin placed Lt. Pargas on administrative leave after a state report was released slamming the police response to the shooting.
‘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,’ said McLaughlin.
Prior to his suspension, DailyMail.com contacted Pargas as his house. He looked disheveled and tired.
Pargas said, ‘I’m not allowed to talk to anybody.’
He was then asked if he was acting chief that day. He didn’t say anything and closed the door.
Another Uvalde Police Officer who arrived at Robb Elementary was Max Dorflinger, 34, a nine-year veteran.
Protestor Ceilia Macais said the police need to be held accountable for their non actions at the Uvalde school shooting
After the release of the video, several citizens in Uvalde are calling for the officers’ firings
On his Facebook on October 14, 2020, Dorflinger posted, ‘Every peace officer should be competent in ground fighting techniques,’ continuing with a quote from John Stuart Mill, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Peter Arredondo
Then in December 2020 he posted a termination letter from the Uvalde County Sheriff Department.
Dorflinger wrote, ‘Well guys after 15 years with the Sheriff’s Office I got this in the mail. I’m sure there’s a few local crooks that will be sleeping easier in Uvalde County.’
After getting terminated by the Uvalde County Sheriff, Dorflinger went to work for the Uvalde Police Department where he still is employed.
Following the release of the video, several citizens in Uvalde are calling for the officers’ firings.
Among them are Ruben Mata, 78, a retired driver whose great granddaughter, Alexandria Rubio, was a victim of the shooting.
‘All of the police were a bunch of cowards that day. They should be fired and prosecuted. A lot of people around here are sickened by the video released and are mad. It’s a small town and they don’t want to be too vocal about it for fear of retaliation by the police.’
A protestor at a downtown park in Uvalde, Juan Martinez, 61 who made the 2.5hr trip from Laredo, Texas told DailyMail.com: ‘Someone has to be here for the children. I’m disappointed by the people of Uvalde not being out mass protesting these cops.
‘The cops are cowards,’ Martinez added. ‘They could have saved some of the kids. They should be indicted for what they did.’
In reference to the hand sanitizer cop, he said, ‘He’s an idiot. How could he do that when kids are getting massacred? All the cops who were in the hallway and did nothing are a bunch of cowards.’
Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said after watching the released video, ‘It’s embarrassing to watch. (Chief Peter) Arredondo and the acting chief should never lead another agency every again. And those officers who stood around while these kids were dying need to turn in their badges.
‘When the time comes to step up that’s part of the job. I know it’s not easy. They didn’t step up they let everyone down including themselves I don’t know how they live with it. ‘
On Sunday a damning report was released by the Texas House Committee on the Robb Elementary shooting, saying, ‘They (police) failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.’
Damning report into Uvalde school shooting shows ‘systemic failures and egregious poor decision making’ across state, federal and local law enforcement: 376 officers responded to shooting but failed to take swift action
State and federal cops were largely responsible for the Uvalde school massacre that left 21 dead, a damning report has found.
The better trained and equipped responders failed to exert the leadership needed when local officers were out of their depth, the Texas House committee probe said.
The 149 US Border Patrol agents and 91 state police were among nearly 400 on the day who should have helped with the ‘unfolding chaos’, the file noted.
But the report slammed them for ‘failing to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety’.
The blistering 77-page document blasted ‘system failures and egregious poor decision making’ by nearly all those in power during the May 24 attack.
It was released around midday Sunday as the victims’ families met with officials to discuss the report and watch footage of the sick rampage through the school.
Some of the litany of errors in the report included:
- Cops failed to follow the active shooter doctrine imposed after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre by not engaging with Ramos;
- The school’s safety protocol for keeping doors to classrooms locked and shut during school hours was not adhered to;
- Around 47 ‘lockdown’ events when police chased migrants near the school before the shooting made staff desensitized to react;
- Ramos gave numerous hints he was going to go on a shooting spree before May 24, posting online cryptic messages related to violent actions;
- Officials undermined public trust in the investigation into the massacre by making false statements about what happened.
‘There was an overall lackadaisical approach by law enforcement at the scene,’ the report read, ‘For many, that was because they were given and relied upon inaccurate information. For others, they had enough information to know better.’
Texas congressman Joaquin Castro took to Twitter to express that the report’s findings were an important step towards ensuring students’ safety in the future, but said there was a long way to go in rebuilding the trust of Texans.
‘Today’s report on the #Uvalde shooting is an important account of what went wrong and how schools can keep kids safe going forward,’ he wrote, ‘But Texans need full transparency to rebuild our trust – starting with responses to the public records requests submitted since the massacre.’
Vincent Salazar, grandfather of Layla Salazar who was killed in the school shooting at Robb Elementary, holds a report released by the Texas House investigative committee on the shootings at Robb Elementary School
The report said that officers ‘failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,’ amidst a chaotic response scene where the people in positions of authority assumed somebody else was in charge.
Though Uvalde school police chief Peter Arredondo did not step up to the duties that were expected of him, the report wrote, better trained and experienced state and federal authorities failed to help local police who were out of their element.
‘These local officials were not the only ones expected to supply the leadership needed during this tragedy,’ the report noted, ‘Hundreds of responders from numerous law enforcement agencies – many of whom were better trained and better equipped than the school district police – quickly arrived on the scene.’
‘In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post,’ the report said, ‘Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde CISD chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance.’
The report opened with a tribute describing each victim killed by Ramos in the massacre
The report also found that the Robb Elementary School failed to adhere to a number of basic safety protocols, which included a lack of keys leading to teachers regularly leaving doors unlocked or propping them open.
Door and lock maintenance did not receive adequate attention from the school district, the report noted, pointing out that though the lock in one of the rooms where the shooting took place was known to be unreliable, it was not repaired.
‘In particular the locking mechanism to Room 111 was widely known to be faulty, yet it was not repaired,’ the report said.
‘The problem with locking the door had been reported to school administration, yet no one placed a written work order for a repair.’
Unreliable WiFi in parts of the school also led to a poor use of an app intended to notify the school of a lockdown in the event of an emergency. Teachers also often responded without urgency to lockdown notifications on the app because they were desensitized by its overuse in situations involving nearby border patrol activity.
Robb Elementary is located about one hour from the US-Mexico border, and teachers would often be notified about migrants who were being pursued by border patrol in the area.
There were 47 ‘lockdown’ events at the school between May and February, 90% of which concerned border patrol activity.
The location of Uvalde in relation to the Mexican border (left) and a map showing the location of Robb Elementary school compared to the center of Uvalde (right), as seen in the investigation committee’s report
A pair of maps showing the Robb Elementary school and its surrounding property, and a floor plan showing the inside of the school, as seen in the investigation committee’s report
The report also found that Ramos provided a number of warning signs that he was dangerous, but that nobody did anything to address them.
In one incident, Ramos sent someone a message on Instagram on April 2 saying ‘Are you still gonna remember me in 50 something days?’
‘Probably not’ the person responded.
‘Hmm alright we’ll see in may,’ Ramos said back.
He was also obsessed with gore and violent sex online, posting videos of suicides and beheadings, and harassing women who he played video games with.
He was also fired from his job at a Whataburger after threatening a female coworker.
Despite his violent behavior, no red flags were raised about Ramos and he was never reported to authorities.
The report also pointed out that state officials undermined public trust in the investigations in the early days after the shooting by issuing a number of false statements.
One day after the shooting, a Uvalde Police Department lieutenant who was tasked with briefing Texas governor Greg Abbott on the events fainted before the meeting. As a result DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon gave the briefing to the governor based on second hands accounts.
That incident led to Abbott then giving the public a ‘false narrative’ at a press conference, in which he said that the shooting lasted only 40 minutes after police ‘rapidly devised a plan, stacked up and neutralized the attacker.’
Abbott later said he was ‘livid’ that he had been misled and had given a false account to the public.