The Texas House investigation into the Uvalde shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead has revealed a number of failures. While the report refrains from explicitly blaming individual officers involved, it does say that “We found systemic failures and egregious poor decision making,” CNN reports.
The interim report is just the first to come in the ongoing investigation and was made available to the families on Sunday.
Thread: The 77-page Texas House committee report on the Uvalde massacre offers the most thorough account yet of what happened, including unsettling information about the shooter and failures before, during and after the incident. Here are five takeaways: https://t.co/nb7cIxR4HU
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) July 17, 2022
The report reveals that a total of 376 law enforcement officers arrived on the scene at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The majority were from state and local law enforcement agencies including U.S. Marshals, DEA officers, 149 Customs & Border Patrol agents, 14 Department of Homeland Security officials, and 91 officers from the Texas Department of Public safety.
While some have shied away from publicly placing blame on law enforcement, the House report is critical of their lack of leadership despite the fact that they were trained for days exactly like May 24.
“They failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,” the report says.
“In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post. 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 continues.
Uvalde school district Police Chief Pete Arredondo – who has subsequently been placed on leave – has received criticism from both the public and other agencies. Arredondo told The Texas Tribune in June that he didn’t “consider” himself commander of the scene.
The committee pointed out that the Uvalde school district’s active shooter plan – co-authored by Arredondo himself – explicitly states the chief is in control of the scene and the responders.
Efforts by Texas Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve McGraw to lay the blame squarely at Arredondo’s feet continued, even after admitting to a Senate committee that Arredondo wasn’t “acting like a commander.” According to the report, “Other people could have assumed command.” It also mentions that Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) “teaches that any law enforcement officer can assume command, that somebody must assume command, and that an incident commander can transfer responsibility as an incident develops.”
The Uvalde report covers several areas deemed as “failures” that played a role in the tragic events of that day — from law enforcement to missed warning signs to inadequate school safety (the 18-year-old shooter entered through an unlocked door). It’s been alleged that the shooter had no firearm experience, but tried at least two times to get others to purchase the weapons for him when he was just 17. The people he asked reportedly said no.
Even more shocking was the fact that the shooter had the nickname “school shooter” in high school, according to the Tribune.
Some blame the faulty alert system – an app designed to let teachers and administrators know about the active shooting. Many ignore this type of alert because of false alarms.
A recently released video of the shooting showed several law enforcement officers from different agencies standing in the hallway for over an hour while shots can be heard in the distance. Some children were still alive, though shot – only to die after arriving at the hospital.
Those crucial moments aren’t lost on the committee who wrote, “Given the information known about victims who survived through the time of the breach and who later died on the way to the hospital, it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue.
It was the Border Patrol agents who eventually broke from their fellow officers to break down the door and kill the gunman.
Apparently, it takes 400 “good guys with a gun” to stop a school shooter in Uvalde.
Original reporting by Zach Despart at The Texas Tribune
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