Home Markets Law Enforcement Response to Uvalde Mass Shooting Was a ‘Failure,’ Justice Department Says in New Report

Law Enforcement Response to Uvalde Mass Shooting Was a ‘Failure,’ Justice Department Says in New Report

by SuperiorInvest

Artist Abel Ortiz (L) gives U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (R) a tour of murals of gunshot victims on January 17, 2024 in Uvalde, Texas. The Justice Department plans to release this week the results of an investigation into the 2022 school shooting that left 21 people dead.

Eric Gay | AFP | fake images

Children’s lives may have been saved if officers had responded differently to a gunman who opened fire at Robb Elementary School, the Justice Department said in its report on the 2022 mass shooting that killed 21 people. including 19 students.

Poor coordination, training and enforcement of active shooter protocol contributed to a police response that can only be described as a “failure,” according to the report.

The 600-page findings describe a chaotic scene that should have triggered a series of coordinated responses by law enforcement officers who first arrived at the school. Instead, a lack of leadership contributed to officers not recognizing an active shooter and waiting too long to confront the gunman.

As a result, 19 students and two teachers died. Seventeen other people were injured.

“The resulting delay provided an opportunity for the active shooter to have additional time to reassess and resume his deadly actions within the classroom,” the report says. “It also contributed to a delay in medical interventions with the potential to impact survival.”

The Justice Department said there were at least 10 “stimulus events” in the span of more than an hour that could have led law enforcement officers to take action under active shooter protocols to “immediately stop the killing.”

“During that period, no one took a leadership role to direct the response to the active shooter, provide situational status to responding officers, establish any type of incident command, or assume and clearly communicate the role of incident commander. “the report continued.

Disturbing new details outlined in the report reveal that authorities conveyed incorrect information to some parents after the shooting about whether their children had survived or been killed.

Parents have long been frustrated by the changing stories and lack of transparency about the response at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, and fear the report will provide answers and accountability they have sought for almost two years.

Steven C. McCraw, director and colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, speaks during a press conference regarding the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.

Miguel M. Santiago | fake images

Attorney General Merrick Garland spent Wednesday in Uvalde visiting the 21 memorial murals, honoring the 21 people who died in the shooting. He also spent more than two hours with the families of those who were killed or injured, answering questions about the report.

Parents, teachers and relatives of the victims were quick to demand the report’s release, as officials warned it could re-traumatize a community left devastated by the tragedy.

Javier Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter, Jacklyn, was one of the 21 people killed in the shooting, told NBC News that he believes people should be held accountable for the authorities’ failed response.

“Hopefully this will change things,” Cazares said of the report. “It’s going to bring some light to the little failures. And unfortunately, this happened, it had to happen to us so that those lessons could be shared with someone else.”

Oscar Orona, whose son Noah was injured but survived the shooting, said he and his wife were pleased with what they heard from Garland at the family forum, but that Noah is still forever changed.

“It’s not the same child we left there that morning,” Orona said. “He is a different person and I dare say that he has experienced more than most men will experience in a lifetime. And he has seen things that he would not wish on even my worst enemy.”

The report is based on a scathing investigation by state lawmakers that found “systemic failures and egregiously poor decision-making” among the nearly 400 law enforcement officers who responded.

The Justice Department began the review early last year at the request of Don McLaughlin, then mayor of Uvalde, when distraught and outraged parents and families demanded to know why it took so long for officers to enter the building and arrest the shooter. The gunman entered his former elementary school armed with an AR-15 rifle and killed students and teachers. Seventeen other people were injured.

Video from the scene released days later showed distraught parents, pleading with officers to enter the school and save their children. They were outraged when, shortly after the shooting, authorities announced that Uvalde police had responded within minutes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at the time that it “could have been worse” if law enforcement officers had not rushed to the scene of the shooting. He later said he had been “misled” about the response.

Sandra Torres, whose 10-year-old daughter, Eliahna, was killed, was among several members of the victims’ families who met with Garland Wednesday night. Earlier in the day, she said she feared the report would provide families with closure.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Torres said. “I don’t know what they’re going to have. What I want most is justice, accountability.”

(COMBO) This combination of images created on May 30, 2022 shows photos of 19 children and 2 teachers who died in the mass shooting at a makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 30, 2022. 2022. (top LR) Eva Mireles, 44, Tess Mata, 10, Rogelio Torres, 10, José Flores, 10, Maite Yuleana Rodríguez, 10, Jackie Cazarez, 9, Maranda Mathis, 10. (center LR) Xavier López, 10 , Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, 10, Aliahana Cruz Torres, 10, Alithia Ramirez, 10, Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10, Uziyah García, 10, Navaho Bravo, 10. (Bottmom LR) Makenna Lee Elord, 10, Annabell Rodriguez, 10, Amerie Jo Garza, 10, Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10, Layla Salazar, 11, Aliahna Amyah García, 9 and Irma García, 48.

Chandan Khanna | AFP | fake images

Law enforcement officers at the scene were heavily criticized for waiting more than an hour to confront the shooter. Their agencies and government officials further angered families by offering conflicting accounts of what happened that day and by failing to discipline responding officers. They also withheld from the public documents and videos that could have shed some light on the events.

Pete Arredondo, then chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department, received the most scrutiny for ordering responding officers to wait for more backup.

A Texas House committee that conducted its own investigation found that under the district’s active shooter plan, Arredondo would have been the incident commander. Instead, he waited more than an hour for more law enforcement officers to arrive before entering the school.

He “failed to assume previously assigned command responsibility for the incident,” according to the committee report. Arredondo has said he does not consider himself the officer in charge.

Steve McCraw, director of the state Department of Public Safety, described the police response as an “abject failure” and criticized responding officers for not engaging with the shooter within minutes of arriving at the scene.

Arredondo, whom McCraw named on-scene commander, was fired in August 2022 by the Uvalde school board. McCraw faulted Arredondo for treating the situation as if it involved a barricaded subject rather than an active shooter.

The Department of Justice collected more than 13,000 items for review and analysis, including policies, procedures, and training materials from responding agencies; manuals; and hours of videos, photographs and interview transcripts.

The investigation is one of several. The review by McCraw’s office led to the firing of one officer. A criminal investigation by the Uvalde prosecutor remains open.

“I’m not sure what information they have, but I hope this report details which officers did what so our DA can’t run, hide and refuse to prosecute them,” said Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old son, Uziyah, was killed. .

Jesse Rizo, uncle of victim Jacklyn Cazares, said he hopes the Justice Department holds people accountable for the botched response and provides missing details about what happened as the gunman moved through Robb Elementary School.

He said he had hoped before, only to be disappointed: “You hope for the best and it always falls short.”

Adam Martínez, whose 8-year-old son, Zayón, survived the shooting, said the boy still can’t sleep in his own room and is triggered by loud noises. Martínez, who started a podcast where family members and residents can discuss his challenges and achievements since the shooting, has been one of the staunchest critics of the authorities’ response.

“For us, for someone to be fired, that’s what we would like,” Martínez said. “Outside of this case, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

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