Texas lawmakers said the Uvalde response was the result of “systematic failures and seriously poor decision-making.”

Texas lawmakers said the Uvalde response was the result of “systematic failures and seriously poor decision-making.”

During the failure of the police to go to the Uvalde classroom The gunman killed the children inside The response was the result of “systematic failures and seriously poor decision-making” among every law enforcement agency that responded, according to a highly anticipated report by Texas lawmakers released Sunday.

“Other than the attackers, the committee did not find any ‘villains’ during its investigation,” the report said. “There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ulterior motive. Instead, we find systemic failures and seriously poor decision-making.”

On May 24, 19 children and two adults were killed in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for it The State House convenes a special legislative committee to investigate the shooting, and lawmakers released their preliminary findings in a report Sunday. The committee interviewed 39 people, including at least 20 law enforcement officials.

After the report was released, Uvalde police released edited body camera footage taken from inside the school on the day of the shooting.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said Sunday that Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was the city’s acting police chief on the day of the shooting, has been placed on administrative leave. McLaughlin hosted a meeting Sunday for the families of Uvalde victims, according to Texas Rep. Dustin Burrows, the committee chair.

Texas School Shooting Report
Vincent Salazar, grandfather of Laila Salazar, killed in Robb Elementary school shooting, in Uvalde, Texas, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in a report released by the Texas House Investigative Committee on the shooting at Robb Elementary School. Two teachers and 19 students were killed.

Eric Gay/AP

Initial accounts blamed the Uvalde school police commissioner for the delay in the response Pete Arredondo, the incident commander who Texas Public Safety Commissioner Steven McCraw said was responsible for the law enforcement response. But Sunday’s report said the failure extended beyond Arredondo, though Burroughs noted at a press conference Sunday that “if anyone was in charge at least south of the door, it was him.”

Burrows said there needed to be an incident commander, and Arredondo testified that he didn’t feel like he was in command.

According to Sunday’s report, a total of 376 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting — a number that included just five officers from the local school police force. There were 25 Uvalde police officers, 16 sheriff’s deputies and some neighboring county law enforcement, but the vast majority were state and federal officers, 149 border patrol officers, 91 state police officers, 13 US marshals and eight federal Drug Enforcement Administration officers. .

The large number of officers who responded, the report said, had no clear leadership and lacked communication to respond efficiently.

“The vacuity of leadership may have contributed to the loss of life as the injured waited for more than an hour for help, and the assailant fired his weapon sporadically,” the report said.

Most of the victims “died instantly,” although the committee wrote that “a significant number of victims would have survived had they not had to wait an additional 73 minutes for rescue.”

Responding officers “failed to adhere to their active shooter training, and failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.”

Burrows noted Sunday that “we’ll never know” if the classroom door was locked with the gunman. The report said body camera footage of Uvalde Police Sgt. Daniel Coronado recorded “several people commented on the need to find a master key for the classroom.” Those officers included Arredondo, who asked for a key to his phone, “which was the primary focus of his attention for the next 40 minutes,” the report said.

“Chief Arredondo personally tried all of a large set of keys brought to him, and when Sergeant Coronado warned him to stay away from the hallway and the ‘deadly funnel,’ Chief Arredondo responded, ‘Just tell them to wait,'” the report said. has been

The report also said there was a “lax surveillance” on the school campus about intruders, with at least one classroom known to be open. No one locked the three outer doors on the day of the shooting

In addition, there were frequent lockdowns prompted by “bailouts,” the term used to describe when a car carrying suspected undocumented immigrants crashes during a police chase and the occupants are ejected. There were about 50 alarms between February and May 2022 related to the bailout, leading to “a reduced sense of alertness about the response to security alerts,” the report said.

The report also revealed new details about the 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, who in 2021 was described by his girlfriend’s friends as the “school shooter” in the report. The gunman threatened the women, began “showing an interest in gore and violent sex, watching and sometimes sharing gruesome videos and images of suicides, beheadings, accidents and the like,” the report said. Schools reopened amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said. He did not return to school when it opened.

Law enforcement officials conducted interviews with family members, examined data on the shooter’s phone and testified to Texas lawmakers. He shot his grandmother before attacking the school.

some videos footage The leak was leaked to local news outlets last week, including the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE. The video shows the gunman walking down an empty hallway and stopping to fire into a classroom, a student who sees the gunman round a corner and then flee. Three minutes later, the first police officers entered the building and the gunman opened fire on them.

The video then skips forward 19 minutes and shows a more heavily armed police presence in the hallway, but the officers have yet to confront the gunman. In the seventy-minute edited video, officers are seen breaching the classroom amid gunfire.

Although Texas lawmakers initially praised law enforcement’s response, in the weeks since, local authorities have provided transfers and often Conflicting accounts of delay when the gunman entered the school and when US Border Patrol agents opened the classroom door and killed him. Abbott said a few days after the shooting that he was “confused” by officers immediately after the shooting.

On Friday, The New York Times reported that Uvalde officials gave McCraw a document in a closed-door meeting in the days after the shooting that urged him to act quickly and praise law enforcement for saving children’s lives. The meeting came after McCraw publicly criticized the law enforcement response. McCray’s agency is leading the investigation into the police response. In addition, the May 30 Justice Department That it will conduct a review of law enforcement actions.

Government officials objected to the initial release of the video last week, with McCraw saying he was “deeply disappointed” the video was released before the victims’ families had a chance to see it. Families were scheduled to view the video in person on Sunday.

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