The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a highly-anticipated report that sharply criticized the law enforcement response to the May 2022 school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Thursday.
The report detailed “cascading failures of leadership” in the police response to the situation as it unfolded, establishing that officers did not breach the classroom where the shooter was located for 77 minutes after first responders arrived on the scene. Nineteen elementary school students and two adults were murdered in the shooting, while an additional 17 people were injured but lived.
“The most significant failure was that responding officers should have immediately recognized the incident as an active shooter situation, using the resources and equipment that were sufficient to push forward immediately and continuously toward the threat until entry was made into classrooms 111/112 and the threat was eliminated,” according to the report.
The report further outlined a breakdown in communication among responding officers and agencies as the shooting unfolded, with Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, the designated incident commander on-site, ordering officers not to breach the classroom to neutralize the gunman.
“Leadership … demonstrated no urgency for establishing a command and control structure, which led to challenges related to information sharing, lack of situational statuses, and limited-to-no direction for personnel in the hallway or on the perimeter,” according to the DOJ’s report.
The report also explains how family members of the students descended upon a reunification center as word of the tragedy spread, with some family members being told initially that their child had survived the shooting when they had not.
“The response to the May 24, 2022, mass casualty incident at Robb Elementary School was a failure,” the report concludes.
The massacre ultimately ended when several law enforcement officers entered the classroom and engaged the gunman, shooting and killing him. The final breach of the classroom commenced approximately 27 minutes after multiple gunshots were heard inside classrooms 111 and 112, according to the report.
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