HOUSTON — The first comprehensive assessment of the law enforcement response to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, found that blame for the failure to swiftly confront the gunman rested not only with the school police chief, but also with the scores of state and federal officers who gathered at the deadly scene but did not act.
The response from the police
The 77-page report, released Sunday by a special Texas House committee, represented a broad indictment of police inaction at Robb Elementary School, citing “systemic failures” that left the school inadequately secured and the police officers who responded mired in confusion and bad information.
Nearly 400 officers responded to the school that day. Yet the decision to finally confront the gunman was made by a small group of officers, including specially trained Border Patrol agents and a deputy sheriff from a neighboring county, the report found, concluding that others at the scene could have taken charge and done so far earlier.
The findings represented the most complete outside account of what took place during the 77 minutes between when the gunman began firing inside the classrooms and when the police finally stormed in and ended the May 24 massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
But the report found that a flawless police response would not have saved most of the victims, who suffered devastating injuries when they were shot with a high-powered AR-15-style rifle by a gunman who had been waiting for his 18th birthday to purchase the weapon legally.
Some died on the way to the hospital, the report noted, adding in a final footnote that “it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait” for rescue dự đoán xổ số miền bắc
“If there’s only one thing that I can tell you is, there were multiple systemic failures,” State Representative Dustin Burrows, who spearheaded the investigation, said at a news conference on Sunday. “Several officers in the hallway or in that building knew or should have known there was dying in that classroom, and they should have done more, acted with urgency.”
Mr. Burrows added that it would be up to the individual agencies to hold their officers accountable. The goal of the committee, he said, was to provide relatives of the victims and the public with information.
The officers waited, the report found, even as at least one high-ranking official — the acting chief of the Uvalde Police Department — learned that a teacher was wounded but still alive and that a child had been calling 911 for help from inside the classrooms. The committee found that none of the officers who learned of the calls advocated for “shifting to an active shooter-style response or otherwise acting more urgently to breach the classrooms.”
After the report came out, the mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughlin, said the acting chief during the shooting, Lt. Mariano Pargas, had been placed on administrative leave and that the city had begun its own internal investigation. The city released body camera footage documenting the actions of the Uvalde officers at the scene.
The facts laid out in the report also made clear that neither existing gun laws, nor expanded background checks passed by Congress in response to the shooting, would have prevented the gunman, Salvador Ramos, from obtaining the weapon he used.