A Texas Army veteran has taken it upon himself to guard his daughter’s elementary school following the massacre in Uvalde, which saw 19 young children and two teachers slaughtered last week.
Ed Chelby said he was having trouble sleeping in the aftermath of Tuesday’s devastating school shooting.
He emailed the superintendent of the Killeen Independent School District at 1am to see if he could guard outside Saegert Elementary – where his daughter goes to school and his wife works as a school nurse.
Chelby, who has a security background, was told he could and now just does that, while unarmed.
A snap of him standing guard was posted online by a grateful mom earlier this week, and quickly went viral.
‘I can’t let this go,’ Chelby told KWTX. ‘I said I would just be out there unarmed to let people know that I’m watching. Let the parents have a little bit of relief.’
To his surprise, KWTX reported, the superintendent told Chelby he could stand guard by the main entrance – and so for the last two days of the school year, he was seen patrolling outside the school about four hours from Uvalde.
Ed Chelby, a parent of a daughter at Saegert Elementary School in Killeen, Texas, volunteered to stand guard outside the school following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde
A photo of Chelby standing outside the school has since gone viral on social media
‘I’ve had a lot of emotional people come up to me,’ said Chelby – who served in the Army for 11 years and has a background in security.
‘They didn’t want to send their kids to school,’ he said of his fellow parents. ‘They struggled with sending their kids to school.
‘And I told them, I was like, “I got them.”
‘We’re all struggling with that,’ he admitted. ‘You don’t know if you should send your kid to school.
‘You want them to get their education and their experiences of the last days of school, but you want to protect them with everything you got.’
Chelby could be seen patrolling outside of the school as it finished up its last few days
A photo of Chelby standing outside the school has since gone viral on social media, and Eli Lopez, the principal of the school, said his efforts were overwhelmingly appreciated by parents and students for restoring some sense of security.
‘Him standing in front of the school, that’s reassuring,’ said one mother, Samantha Longfeather-Locke, who posted the photo of him online.
Other parents have also offered to drop something off for him to drink, and Lopez said one mother approached him in tears to thank him for helping her and her child feel safe at school.
‘A child should never have to worry for their safety as they come into school, and Mr. Chelby helped ensure that sense of security the last two days of school after a horrific tragedy,’ Lopez said in a statement to Newsweek.
Lopez added that another parent, a mother who is also a veteran, has also volunteered to keep watch on the back of the school, and other parents have volunteered for a safety program for the next school year.
‘As I took time to check on them and express my personal appreciation, they both expressed the simple act they felt they were taking on of being present as the least they could do,’ Lopez said.
‘I was humbled that they demonstrated what it is to be part of the village that cares for each other.
‘Neither one chose this task for recognition,’ he added.
Heartbreaking new photos show kids running out of Robb Elementary School on Tuesday after the gunman opened fire. It’s unclear what time these gut wrenching images were taken. They show cops pulling children through windows
Cops and border patrol agents are shown looking for kids in other classrooms during the shooting on Tuesday
Their efforts come as Texas’ Director of Public Safety Col. Steven McGraw admitted that 19 cops stood outside the classroom at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, where the gunman had his victims trapped – but did nothing because they thought everyone inside was dead, despite ongoing 911 calls from inside from children begging for help.
McCraw said it was ‘the wrong decision’ and came as the result of the Chief of the Uvalde School District Police Department Pete Arredondo mistakenly believing all of the kids in the classroom had already been killed.
Police say they thought that every shot the gunman fired after that was aimed at the door and designed to keep them at bay.
‘The incident commander thought at that time there was no more children at risk. Obviously there were children that were at risk,’ he said.
It remains unconfirmed how many children died while those 19 cops stood outside the classroom door.
Authorities said Salvador Ramos, 18, entered the classroom and locked the door at 11.34am. In the first few minutes, he fired more than 100 shots inside classrooms 111 and 112.
He carried on shooting ‘sporadically’ until 12.21pm, and it wasn’t until 12.50pm that police eventually gained access to the classrooms with a key from the janitor.
‘With the benefit of hindsight, from where I am sitting now – of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. There is no excuse,’ McCraw said.
He latter sobbed as he said he and other police officers ‘take an oath to protect people’ but failed.
‘We want to know why this happened and know if we can do better next time,’ he said.
Arredondo, whose decision it was not to advance because he thought all of the kids had died, was not at the press conference to answer questions and it remains unconfirmed if he was even inside the school at the time of the shooting.
Col. Steven McCraw cried as he admitted it was the ‘clearly the wrong decision’. Police still do not know whether the shooter’s victims were killed before or after police arrived at the scene
Authorities also revealed on Friday that there was no school resource officer present when the shooter opened fire, contrary to previous reports from the police that he engaged in a shootout with the gunman.
Instead, a school resource officer who was nearby and heard the first 911 call about the gunman crashing his truck rushed to the scene.
They however drove directly past the gunman when he hid between cars in the parking lot.
Instead, the school resource officer went to the back of the building and confronted a male teacher, mistaking him for the gunman.
In the meantime, Salvador Ramos started advancing on the school, firing at classrooms.
He then walked through an unlocked front door which was propped open by a teacher who had gone to retrieve their phone a minute before he arrived.
While those officers stood inside waiting and he was shooting, parents were being put in handcuffs outside and held back from entering the school.
The police response is now under investigation.