UVALDE, Texas — Two months after the Uvalde school massacre, Texas State Police on Monday announced an internal review of the actions of dozens of soldiers who were at Rob Elementary during the 73 minutes when a gunman killed 19 children and two. was given. Teacher’s.
The announcement appeared to widen the fallout of a damning 80-page report released over the weekend by the Texas House, which revealed failures at all levels of law enforcement and identified 91 state soldiers at the scene — all from Uvalde officers. more combined. It also amounted to a public turnaround by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has so far largely criticized local officials for failing to confront the gunman as quickly as possible.
Reports made public on Sunday marked the first time that state police and the US Border Patrol had a large presence during one of the worst school shootings in US history.
“You found 91 soldiers at the scene. You have all the equipment you could possibly want, and you’re listening to the local school cop?” said State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde and who has downplayed his role in the response to the DPS. alleged to have demanded.
The conclusion that Border Patrol agents and state troops constituted more than half of the 376 law enforcement officers who arrived at the South Texas school on May 24 spread responsibility for a slow and convoluted response compared to previous accounts, in which Uvalde Mistakes were emphasized by the authorities. ,
The report clarified that “extremely poor decision-making” by officers were beyond local law enforcement in Uvalde, which were ultimately exceeded 5-to-1 by state and federal officials at the scene. Other local police in the area around Uvalde also retaliated to the firing.
The report sheds a new light on the roles of state and federal agencies, whose leaders, unlike local officials, do not sit in meetings where they are confronted by estranged parents of dead children.
Of the approximately 400 officers who attended the school, only two are currently known to be on leave to investigate their actions: Pete Arredondo, Uvalde Consolidated School District police chief, and Lieutenant Mariano Pargas, an Uvalde Police Department officer. , who was the city’s acting police chief during the massacre.
The state police has earlier said that none of the soldiers present at the scene have been suspended. On Monday, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the findings in the report were “beyond disturbing” but did not single out any single agency.
Texas DPS did not provide a timeline for when the review was completed. It said the actions of every soldier, state police agent and Texas ranger at the scene would be investigated “to determine whether any breach of policy, law or principle occurred.”
Texas DPS director Colonel Steve McCraw previously placed much of the blame on Arredondo for the response, identifying him as the incident commander and criticizing him for treating the gunman in the classroom as an active shooter.
The new report – the fullest account yet of the tragedy – also says that Arredondo wasted significant time during the shooting looking for the keys to the classroom and did not treat the gunman with much urgency. But it also emphasized that all law enforcement at the scene thwarted the response.
“There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or bad intentions. Instead, we found systemic failures and seriously poor decision making,” the report said.
Abbott said “significant changes are needed” but did not say in a statement whether any officials or agencies should be held accountable.
In Uvalde, city council and school board meetings in the eight weeks since the shooting have become recurring scenes of residents shouting at elected leaders for police accountability, which continued even after reports became public.
“That’s ridiculous. Disgusting,” said Michael Brown, whose 9-year-old son was in the school cafeteria on the day of the shooting and survived. “They’re cowards.”
Reportedly, the gunman fired about 142 rounds inside the school—and it’s “almost certain” that at least 100 shots came before any officers entered, with multiple failures, according to the committee.
Among them: no one took command, despite several officers on the scene, and no officer immediately tried to disrupt the class, while a dispatcher relayed a 911 call that there were victims in the room.
The report also criticized the Border Patrol Tactical Team, saying it was waiting for a bulletproof shield and working master key for the classroom door, which was never locked before entering. In all, the report placed about 150 Border Patrol agents on the scene.
US Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said Monday that the agency’s response is still under review and has not reached any final conclusions.
Hours after the report was released, Uvalde officials made public separately for the first time hours body camera footage of the city’s police officers who responded to the attack.
A video of Uvalde Staff Sgt. The head of the city’s SWAT team, Eduardo Canales, showed the officer approaching the classroom when shots were fired at 11:37 a.m.
A minute later, Canales said: “Man, we have to go there. We have to get there, he just keeps shooting. We have to get there.” Another officer can be heard saying that “DPS is sending its men.”
72 minutes later, at 12:50 p.m., is when officers finally broke up the orbit and killed the shooter.