UVALDE, Texas — — Uvalde Elementary School Shooting: Nearly 400 law enforcement officers rushed to the scene, but “egregiously poor decision-making” led to more than an hour of chaos before the gunman who killed 21 people was finally confronted and killed by police, according to a damning investigative report that was released Sunday.
For the first time, a nearly 80-page report criticized not only local authorities in the South Texas town but also state and federal law enforcement agencies for their bewildering inaction as a gunman fired inside a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School.
Police failed to adhere to their active shooter training at Robb Elementary, and the report said they failed to prioritize saving innocent lives over their safety.
A total of 142 rounds were fired inside the building by the assailant, and the report states that it is “almost certain” that at least 100 shots were fired before any officers entered. For instance:
An investigation committee from the Texas House of Representatives wrote the report, which is the most comprehensive account yet of the hesitant and haphazard response to the May 24 massacre. Lt. Mariano Pargas, a Uvalde Police Department officer who served as acting police chief during the massacre, was placed on administrative leave as a result of the findings quickly.
To determine whether Pargas had the right to assume command of the scene, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced that an investigation would be launched. All body camera footage from Uvalde police officers who were involved in the shooting will now be made public, Mayor McLaughlin said.
Several officers have left since the shooting, according to McLaughlin, and suicides are “a big concern.”
The report was given to the families of the victims in Uvalde on Sunday before it was released to the general public.
“It’s just a joke, of course. They’re a prank. They should not be allowed to wear a badge. They don’t have any, “The Father of 11-year-old Layla’s grandfather Vincent Salazar, said on Sunday.
376 law enforcement officers gathered at the school, according to the report. Federal and state law enforcement officers made up the vast majority of those who responded. About 150 Border Patrol agents and 91 state police officers took part in the operation.
It was revealed in the report that aside from the attacker, the committee had not discovered any “villains.” “Anyone to whom we can impute malice or ulterior motives has been excommunicated. As a result, we discovered widespread inefficiencies and shockingly bad decision-making at all levels of the organization.”
Numerous law enforcement officers who arrived at the school were found to be better trained and equipped than district police, according to a new report. The Texas Department of Public Safety’s state police chief had previously blamed the district police for failing to enter the room quickly enough.
That decision rests solely with each law enforcement agency, investigators said, and they did not get involved in the process. Only one of the hundreds of officers on the scene — Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo — had been known to be on leave until Sunday morning.
“Everyone who came on the scene talked about this being chaotic,” said Texas state Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Republican who headed the investigation.
There was no immediate word Sunday from officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety or the U.S. Border Patrol about requests for comment.
More than 40 people, including witnesses and law enforcement officers who were on the scene of the shooting, were interviewed in secret over several weeks.
Among the officers involved in the shooting, only Arredondo has been the subject of as much scrutiny as the other officers. Despite not being able to see the gunman, Arredondo admitted to the committee that he did not treat the scene as an “active shooter” situation because he treated him as a “barricaded subject.”
Despite Arredondo’s efforts, no one ever checked to see if the classroom doors were locked, according to the account.
As stated in the report, Arredondo’s search for a key “consumed his attention and wasted precious time,” delaying a break-in.
Police surrounded the school and were described as “lackadaisical” for not recognizing that Arredondo’s presence in the school without reliable communication was “inconsistent” with his position as the scene commander, according to the report. Officers who delayed action did so because they had “inadequate information to know better,” according to the report.
There has been a lot of backlash against the Texas state police chief and some Uvalde residents for their hesitant and haphazard response, which was captured on an 80-minute hallway surveillance video that was published this week by the Austin American-Statesman.
Since the shooting, the number of people calling for police to be held accountable has risen in Uvalde.
It’s one of several investigations into the shooting, including a Justice Department-led one. In a report released earlier this month by Texas State University’s tactical experts, they claimed that a Uvalde police officer could have prevented the gunman from going into the school armed with an AR-15.
Mayor Don McLaughlin of Uvalde has said that never happened, which is just one of many conflicting statements and accounts that have surfaced since the shooting. In response to McLaughlin’s increasing criticism and accusations that the Texas Department of Public Safety was attempting to minimize the role of its troopers during the massacre, a report was commissioned.
The police chief in Texas, Steve McCraw, has labeled the department’s response an “absurd failure.”
The committee found that “it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue,” but it did not “receive medical evidence” that police breaching the classroom sooner had saved lives.
At the committee’s press conference on Sunday, Michael Brown, whose 9-year-old son was shot and survived in the Robb Elementary cafeteria, carried signs reading “We Want Accountability” and “Prosecute Pete Arredondo.”
Despite Brown’s claim that he hasn’t read the report, he believes the police “have blood on their hands.”
“It’s harrowing to see. It’s sickening “he asserted, according to her. That group of people is a bunch of cowards.