By JAKE BLEIBERG and PAUL J. WEBER
UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school, but “egregiously poor decision-making” resulted in more than an hour of chaos before the gunman who took 21 lives was finally confronted and killed, according to a damning investigative report released Sunday.
The nearly 80-page report was the first to criticize both state and federal law enforcement, and not just local authorities in the South Texas town for the bewildering inaction by heavily armed officers as a gunman fired inside a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School.
“At Robb Elementary, law enforcement responders failed to adhere to their active shooter training, and they failed to prioritize saving innocent lives over their own safety,” the report said.
The gunman fired approximately 142 rounds inside the building — and it is “almost certain” that at least 100 shots came before any officer entered, according to the report, which laid out in damning detail numerous failures. Among them:
— The commander of a Border Patrol tactical team waited for a bullet-proof shield and working master key for the classroom, which may have not even been needed, before entering the classroom.
— No one assumed command despite scores of officers, including Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief, being on the scene.
— A Uvalde Police Department officer said he heard about 911 calls that had come inside form the classroom, and that his understanding was the officers on one side of the building knew there were victims trapped inside. Still, no one tried to breach the classroom
The report — the most complete account yet of the hesitant and haphazard response to the May 24 massacre — was written by an investigative committee from the Texas House of Representatives and released to family members Sunday.
Family members of the victims in Uvalde received copies of the report Sunday before it was released to the public.
“It’s a joke. They’re a joke. They’ve got no business wearing a badge. None of them do,” Vincent Salazar, grandfather of 11-year-old Layla Salazer, said Sunday.
According to the report, 376 law enforcement officers massed at the school. The overwhelming majority of those who responded were federal and state law enforcement. That included nearly 150 U.S. Border Patrol agents and 91 state police officials.
“Other than the attacker, the Committee did not find any ‘villains’ in the course of its investigation,” the report …read more
Source:: The Mercury News