McALLEN – More than 90 law enforcement and school officials gathered to discuss active shooter incidents during a roundtable discussion hosted by Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. Friday morning.
“We are here today to make sure our communities, children, and schools are safe,” said Rodriguez during a news conference held immediately following the meeting. “Our message is very clear; we will not tolerate any incidents that pose a threat, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent.”
Rodriguez was joined at the McAllen Performing Arts Center by Superintendents and other school officials, as well as law enforcement officials representing all agencies with a local presence in Hidalgo County, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Homeland Security; Texas Department of Public Safety; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Sheriff’s Office, Constables, and city and school Police Departments.
FBI Rio Grande Valley-San Antonio Field Office, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Stephen Kam pledged technical resources and personnel to assisting local efforts.
“The FBI has committed our resources to assisting our state and local partners in identifying the individuals responsible for making these threats and bringing them to justice if we can,” said Kam. “I think the roundtable was very helpful in bringing out the issues and discussing the things and ways that we can work together.”
Edinburg Superintendent Rene Gutierrez said schools cannot do it alone.
“We have to address the important issues, and that is ensuring the safety of our children, and we can’t do that alone,” Gutierrez said.
DPS Regional Commander Jose C. Rodriguez, III said like the FBI, the State of Texas is committed to assisting in this effort.
“It was a very encouraging meeting. As we all know, many parents are uneasy at this time and they have reason to be and we want them to know that we’re doing everything we can to ensure that our children feel safe in school, our administrators as well,” Rodriguez said, adding that it was great to see the different perspectives. “We’re ready to put some resources to this and help the school districts, because it’s not the school districts’ problem, it’s not the local police departments’ problem, it’s all of our problem.”
Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra asked students and parents for their assistance.
“So the message that we want to put out today to the parents, to the students: If you hear something, if you see something, if you know something; tell somebody,” Guerra said. “And to those that want to do harm or spread a threat; we’re going to come after you and we’re going to prosecute you.”