Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office apologizes for showing AR-15 photos at Fort Worth elementary school day after Uvalde shooting

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Photos of an AR-15 style rifle, the type of gun used during Tuesday’s mass school shooting in Uvalde, were shown by a sheriff’s deputy to students at a Fort Worth elementary school Wednesday during a career day presentation. The sheriff’s office and the school apologized for the incident.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office deputy made the presentation during a career day event on Wednesday morning at E.M. Daggett Elementary School.

In a photo of the presentation shared with the Star-Telegram, an image of a poster titled “A Liberal’s Guide to the Deadly AR-15” is highlighted on Google Images. The poster describes the different components of the rifle.

The rifle photos were not a planned part of the deputy’s presentation, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Thursday in which officials apologized for the incident.

The release said a student asked the deputy what types of firearms his vest protected him from, and in an effort to answer the question, the deputy did a Google search and several AR-15 rifles were displayed on a large overhead screen.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office said that “considering the events of this week in Uvalde, it was insensitive and a profound momentary lack of judgment.”

“Sheriff Waybourn takes full responsibility for this incident and apologizes for the concern that has been caused by what happened,” the release said. “We strive to keep the public informed about the training our deputies go through but recognize this presentation was not the best representation for the elementary class.”

A school district employee said young students saw the photos of the rifle type, which has been at the center of gun control and mass shooting debates for years.

During his presentation, the deputy also demonstrated an “inert training spray” in brief bursts to show teachers and students “how pepper spray is used in law enforcement,” the release said.

“Inert training spray allows officers to practice self-defense spray usage techniques without the risk of accidentally spraying themselves or others. Inert spray formulas contain only water and propellant, with none of the capsaicinoid chemicals,” the release said.

In a statement to parents, Daggett Elementary Principal Kendall Miller wrote that he was informed that “one of the presentations by a local public safety agency included information that was not age-appropriate.”

Miller apologized to parents for the situation.

“In light of recent events, the officer’s presentation was insensitive, not suitable, and not condoned by Daggett Elementary and the Fort Worth ISD,” he said.

Miller said the school is taking the incident seriously and working with staff to prevent it from occurring again.

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