Nearly 400 law enforcement officers rushed to attend a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school, but “systemic failures” created a chaotic scene that lasted more than an hour before the gunman who claimed 21 lives was finally confronted and killed. , according to a report by the researchers. released on Sunday.
The nearly 80-page report was the first to criticize both state and federal law enforcement, and not just local Texas city authorities for the puzzling inaction by heavily armed officers when a gunman opened fire inside a fourth grade classroom.
“At Robb Elementary, law enforcement officials did not adhere to their active shooter training and did not prioritize saving innocent lives over their own safety,” the report says.
The gunman fired approximately 142 rounds inside the building, and “almost certainly” 100 shots were fired before any officers entered, according to the report.
The report, the most comprehensive account yet of the hesitant and haphazard response to the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School, was written by an investigative committee of the Texas House of Representatives and released to members of the family on sunday.
According to the report, 376 law enforcement officers concentrated on the school. The vast majority of those who responded were federal and state law enforcement. That included nearly 150 US Border Patrol agents and 91 state police officers, according to the Tribune.
“It’s a joke. They’re a joke. They don’t have to wear a badge. None of them do,” Vincent Salazar, grandfather of 11-year-old Layla Salazerhe said on Sunday.
The report followed weeks of closed-door interviews with more than 40 people, including witnesses and police officers who were at the scene of the shooting.
The flowers that had been piled in the central square of the city had been removed on Sunday, leaving some maps of stuffed animals around the fountains along with photos of some of the children killed.
A nearly 80-minute hallway surveillance video released by the Austin American-Statesman this week publicly showed for the first time a hesitant and haphazard tactical response, which the Texas state police chief has condemned as a failure and some Uvalde residents have criticized as cowardly.
Calls for police accountability have grown in Uvalde since the shooting. So far, only one officer from the scene of the deadliest school shooting in Texas history is known to be on leave.
The report is the result of one of several investigations into the shooting, including one led by the Justice Department. A report earlier this month by tactical experts at Texas State University alleged that a Uvalde police officer had an opportunity to stop the gunman before he entered the school armed with an AR-15.
But in an example of conflicting statements and disputed accounts since the shooting, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin he said that never happened. That report was made at the request of the Texas Department of Public Safety, which McLaughlin has increasingly criticized and accused of trying to minimize the role of its soldiers during the massacre.
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas DPS, called the police response an abject failure.
Weber reported from Austin, Texas.
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