A newly-released 77-page report provides a scathing review of what happened last month at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, before and during one of the country’s most horrific mass murders.
An 18-year-old gunman walked into the school after crashing his vehicle outside and killed 19 young students and two adults while police amassed in the hallway and outside and refused to act for more than an hour.
According to the Texas Tribune, which reviewed the report, it details “systemic failures” and “poor decision making” from those involved.
The outlet also “reviewed the committee’s report that detailed how the gunman’s family was unable to recognize warning signs, how the school district strayed from its safety plan and how police disregarded their own active-shooter training,” Fox News .
The outlet continued:
A force of 376 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting, according to the report. However, the report found there was no clear leadership once they amassed at the scene, and responders lacked basic communications and necessary urgency to take down the gunman.
The investigation criticized the inaction of state and federal law enforcement, who made up the majority of responding officers. The report states there were 91 state police offers, 149 from U.S. Border Patrol, 25 Uvalde city police officers, 16 sheriff’s deputies and 5 officers from the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police.
Until now, much of the criticism has been directed at former Uvalde schools police Chief Pete Arredondo, who acted as incident commander during the massacre.
The committee said law enforcement failed to quickly confront the suspect, having retreated to safety after taking gunfire and waiting for backup.
“They failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,” the report said.
The committee also noted that other better trained officers and law enforcement agencies also failed to take over leadership from Arredondo following his inaction at the scene.
“In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post,” the committee report said. “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 committee did note that some individual officers attempted to engage the shooter more quickly and may have been able to do so if they had adequate backup.
“The committee report also found that the school, despite having proper safeguards in place, was complacent in its implementation, with witnesses telling the committee that staff often left doors unlocked and propped them open with rocks, wedges or magnets, partly due to a shortage of keys,” Fox News reported.
There has been widespread criticism of the police response to the tragedy, including from one of Texas’ top cops.
“There’s compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” said Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety during testimony before a state Senate committee
“Three minutes after the subject entered the West building, there was sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject,” McCraw continued.
“The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he continued.
“One error; 14 minutes and eight seconds,” the director said of the young students waiting in a classroom for police to save them.
McCraw said officers were, in part, waiting for a “key that was not needed.”
“I have great reasons to believe it was never secured,” he testified. “How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?”
“Obviously, not enough training was done in this situation, plain and simple. Because terrible decisions were made by the on-site commander,” McCraw railed.