The couple was held on $500,000 bonds each after they failed to appear for their arraignment Friday, prompting an overnight manhunt.
Suspect’s Parents Charged
The parents of a suspected school shooter who left four dead and seven others injured in Oxford, Michigan, last week pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges Saturday following an overnight manhunt.
On Friday, prosecutors in Michigan took the rare step of charging the parents of the 15-year-old accused of carrying out a mass shooting at Oxford High School with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each — one for every student killed in the attack.
During a press conference, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald argued that the boy’s parents were culpable in the most deadly school shooting this year because they allowed their son access to the murder weapon and actively ignored obvious warnings that he was considering violence.
At the briefing, prosecutors said that the suspect’s father had purchased the weapon four days before the shooting as an early Christmas gift for the teen. McDonald said the kid “had total access to this weapon” which was kept “unlocked in a drawer” in his parent’s bedroom.
Lawyers for the parents have disputed that claim, asserting that the gun was, in fact, locked.
Alarming Warning Signs
Prosecutors also noted that there were a number of incredibly alarming warning signs that the suspects parents ignored.
They noted that after the gun was purchased, authorities at Oxford raised concerns about the teenager’s behavior twice.
According to prosecutors, the day before the shooting, a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone. School officials called his parents, who did not respond, but his mother later texted her son: “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
The next day, another teacher found a drawing of a gun on the suspect’s desks with images of a gun, a person who was shot, a laughing emoji, along with the words “Blood everywhere” and “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”
That drawing prompted a meeting with the boy’s parents, but prosecutors said they refused to take their son home and did not ask him about the gun, search his backpack, or inform the school that they had purchased one for him.
But prosecutors noted that when news of the shooting broke a few hours later, the suspect’s parents were quick to believe it was their son.
His mother allegedly texted him “don’t do it.” Meanwhile, his father called the police to inform them that a weapon was missing from their house and that his son could be the gunman.
Manhunt for Parents
Prosecutors argued that their claims regarding the parent’s culpability were further bolstered when the two appeared to flee once the charges against them were made public.
A few hours after the announcement, authorities said police were searching for the parents, who were scheduled to be arraigned that day but had stopped communicating with their attorneys. A massive manhunt for the fugitives was launched that included sheriff’s deputies, Detroit police, U.S. marshals, FBI officers, and even U.S. Border Patrol.
Then at around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, police said they found the couple “hiding” in a warehouse building in Detroit — about 40 miles from where they live — after someone tipped off authorities that their vehicle was nearby.
Lawyers for the couple disputed that they were hiding, claiming that they had believed their arraignment was Saturday morning and had planned to attend, blaming a miscommunication with the prosecutor’s office.
Both law enforcement officials and prosecutors were skeptical of that assertion.
“I think where they were and how they were seems to support the position they were hiding and they weren’t looking for surrendering at that point,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
That statement was echoed by prosecutor McDonald, who noted that the two also withdrew thousands of dollars in cash from an ATM, which she cited as part of the reason they should be held on a high bond of $500,000 each.
“They sought multiple attempts to hide their location and were eventually tracked down after they parked their car somewhere a witness saw it,” she said. “These two individuals were found locked somewhere in a room, hiding. These are not people that we can be assured will return to court on their own.”
A judge agreed to the bond during the couple’s arraignment Saturday, where both parents pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Currently, the couple is being held in the same jail their son is in, though all are being kept separate. All three have also been placed on suicide watch, but officials said they passed initial mental health screenings.
The two parents face up to 15 years if convicted on the charges. Their son faces two dozen charges, including terrorism.
Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other news coverage, as they may contain these details.
Conservatives Slam Elmo For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19
While critics accused the muppet of promoting propaganda, CDC data shows the shots are safe and effective.
Elmo Gets Vaccinated
Conservative politicians expressed outrage on Twitter after the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo revealed he got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared the way for children between the ages of six months and five years to get vaccinated against the virus. The famous red muppet is three years old, making him finally eligible for the jab.
In a video shared by “Sesame Street,” Elmo said that he felt “a little pinch, but it was okay.”
Elmo’s father, Louie, then addressed parents who might be apprehensive about vaccinating their own kids.
“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” he said to the camera. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice.”
“I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love,” he continued.
Republicans Criticize “Sesame Street”
While some praised the video for raising awareness and addressing the concerns parents may have, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) quickly lambasted the effort.
“Thanks, Sesame Street for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” Cruz tweeted. “You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”
Despite Cruz’s claim, the CDC has provided ample resources with information on vaccines for children.
He was not alone in criticizing the video. Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, suggested that Elmo would be taking puberty blockers next.
Other anti-vaxxers claimed Elmo would get myocarditis and accused “Sesame Street” of promoting propaganda.
COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective against transmission of the virus, but this is not the first time conservatives have turned their anger against a friendly-looking muppet who opted to get the jab. When Big Bird got vaccinated in November, Cruz and other right-wing figures accused the show of brainwashing kids.
Big Bird’s choice to get vaccinated was not a shocker though, clips dating back to 1972 show him getting immunized against the measles.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Market Watch)
Uvalde Puts Police Chief on Leave, Tries to Kick Him Off City Council
If Pete Arredondo fails to attend two more consecutive city council meetings, then he may be voted out of office.
Police Chief Faces Public Fury
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday following revelations that he and his officers did not engage the shooter at Robb Elementary for over an hour despite having adequate weaponry and protection.
Superintendent Hal Harrell, who made the announcement, did not specify whether the leave is paid or unpaid.
Harrell said in a statement that the school district would have waited for an investigation to conclude before making any personnel decisions, but chose to order the administrative leave because it is uncertain how long the investigation will take.
Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the second in command at the police department, will assume Arredondo’s duties.
In an interview with The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo said he did not consider himself in charge during the shooting, but law enforcement records reviewed by the outlet indicate that he gave orders at the scene.
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state senators on Tuesday that some officers wanted to enter the classrooms harboring the shooter but were stopped by their superiors.
He said officer Ruben Ruiz tried to move forward into the hallway after receiving a call from his wife Eva Mireles, a teacher inside one of the classrooms, telling him she had been shot and was bleeding to death.
Ruiz was detained, had his gun taken away, and was escorted off the scene, according to McCraw. Mireles later died of her wounds.
Calls for Arredondo to resign or be fired have persisted.
Emotions Erupt at City Council
Wednesday’s announcement came one day after the Uvalde City Council held a special meeting in which community members and relatives of victims voiced their anger and demanded accountability.
“Who are you protecting?” Asked Jasmine Cazares, sister of Jackie Cazares, a nine-year-old student who was shot. “Not my sister. The parents? No. You’re too busy putting them in handcuffs.”
Much of the anger was directed toward Arredondo, who was not present at the meeting but was elected to the city council on May 7, just over two weeks before the massacre.
“We are having to beg ya’ll to do something to get this man out of our faces,” said the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old victim. “We can’t see that gunman. That gunman got off easy. We can’t take our frustrations out on that gunman. He’s dead. He’s gone. … Ya’ll need to put yourselves in our shoes, and don’t say that none of ya’ll have, because I guarantee you if any of ya’ll were in our shoes, ya’ll would have been pulling every string that ya’ll have to get this man off the council.”
One woman demanded the council refuse to grant Arredondo the leave of absence he had requested, pointing out that if he fails to attend three consecutive meetings the council can vote him out for abandoning his office.
“What you can do right now is not give him, if he requests it, a leave of absence,” she said. “Don’t give him an out. We don’t want him. We want him out.”
After hearing from the residents, the council voted unanimously not to approve the leave of absence.
On Tuesday, Uvalde’s mayor announced that Robb Elementary is set to be demolished, saying no students or teachers should have to return to it after what happened.
We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.
Texas Public Safety Director Says Police Response to Uvalde Shooting Was An “Abject Failure”
New footage shows officers prepared to engage the shooter one hour before they entered the classroom.
Seventy-Seven Deadly Minutes
Nearly a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, evidence has emerged indicating that police were prepared to engage the shooter within minutes of arriving, but chose to wait over an hour.
The shooting at Robb Elementary began at 11:33 a.m., and within three minutes 11 officers are believed to have entered the school, according to surveillance and body camera footage obtained by KVUE and the Austin American Statesman.
District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the police department at 11:40 a.m. for help.
“It’s an emergency right now,” he said. “We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot… They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.”
At 11:52 a.m., however, the footage shows multiple officers inside the school armed with at least two rifles and one ballistic shield.
Law enforcement did not enter the adjoined classrooms to engage the shooter until almost an hour later, at 12:50 p.m. During that time, one officer’s daughter was inside the classrooms and another’s wife, a teacher, reportedly called him to say she was bleeding to death.
Thirty minutes before law enforcement entered the classrooms, the footage shows officers had four ballistic shields in the hallway.
Frustrated Cops Want to Go Inside
Some of the officers felt agitated because they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.
One special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting started, then immediately asked, “Are there still kids in the classrooms?”
“It is unknown at this time,” another officer replied.
“Ya’ll don’t know if there’s kids in there?” The agent shot back. “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”
“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” the other officer responded.
According to an earlier account by Arredondo, he and the other officers tried to open the doors to the classrooms, but found them both locked and waited for a master key to arrive. But surveillance footage suggests that they never tried to open the doors, which a top Texas official has confirmed were never actually locked.
One officer has told reporters that within minutes of the police response, there was a Halligan bar, which firefighters use to break down locked doors, on-site, but it was never used.
At a special State Senate committee hearing Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and “antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”
“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said. “The officers have weapons, the children had none.”