A report investigating the Texas school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead revealed ‘systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making’ by the nearly 400 officers on the scene who failed to stop the massacre.
The scathing 77-page report found law enforcement officers ‘failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.’
‘With hindsight, we could say that Robb Elementary was not adequately prepared for the risk of a school shooter,’ said Texas state Representative Dustin Burrows, who chaired the House committee’s investigation.
The committee has spent the last month investigating the May 24 shooting that Ki**ed 21 people at Robb Elementary School. The response to the shooting has been heavily criticized, with relatives of victims sharing how they feel officers did not do enough.
The report, released on Sunday, concluded there was no one person to blame beyond the gunman, but that numerous agencies contributed to the botched response.
‘There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives. Instead, we found systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making,’ according to the report.
Also on Sunday, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced that acting Chief of police, Lt Mariano Pargas, was placed on leave as the city launched an investigation of his response.
Nearly 400 officers rushed to the school in response to the shooting, yet officials waited 77 minutes to confront and kill 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos.
‘We do not know at this time whether responders could have saved more lives by shortening that delay,’ the report notes.
Overall, 376 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting. Most of those officers were federal and state law enforcement. A total of 150 US Border Patrol agents and 91 state police officers also responded to the call, according to the report.
The report details numerous shortcomings and failures made by officials across the board. It highlights a ‘regrettable culture of noncompliance by school personnel’ in propping doors open, and notes that law enforcement responders did not adhere to an active shooter plan.
The school district’s active shooter plan designates its police chief Pete Arredondo as the person in charge should a shooting take place. Despite being one of the first officers on the scene, Arredondo did not take charge, and ‘failed to perform or to transfer to another person the role of incident commander,’ the report says.
The report added that police witnesses said they either assumed Arredondo was in charge, or couldn’t tell who was leading the chaotic response.
‘Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde CISD chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance,’ the report adds.
Arredondo was placed on administrative leave and has since resigned from his spot on Uvalde City Council.
The report found that officers who responded to the scene about three minutes after the shooting began had ‘acted appropriately by attempting to breach the classrooms and stop the attacker,’ according to the report.
But officers soon lost momentum, the report found. After the gunman returned fire on officers they began treating the scenario as a barricaded subject, instead of acting with greater urgency that would be granted during an ‘active shooter’ scenario.
The tragedy was the deadliest school shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
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