Trying to understand tragedies like the one at Robb Elementary in Uvalde is nearly impossible. However, the Texas legislature’s 77-page report released Sunday offers us some explanations for what happened.
According to the report, nearly 400 law enforcement officers from various agencies went to the school after the shooting began but were hampered by a lack of coordination.
Law enforcement officials told investigators that they assumed Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was in command at the scene. Still, Arredondo has said publicly that he did not believe he was in command. Law enforcement waited more than an hour before confronting the shooter and killing him.
The report, which is the most comprehensive to date, apportions blame among all law enforcement that responded to the attack, blaming local police for their mistakes and more experienced agencies for failing to take charge, The Washington Post adds.
According to the Texas House of Representatives investigative report, nearly 400 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers were on the scene that day, including 91 state troopers, none of whom took the lead in the response. According to the report, Arredondo drafted his active shooter response plan and assigned himself as an incident commander but failed to follow his established protocol.
“The void of leadership could have contributed to the loss of life as injured victims waited over an hour for help, and the attacker continued to sporadically fire his weapon,” the 77-page report says.
“Hundreds of responders from numerous law enforcement agencies – many of whom were better trained and better equipped than the school district police – quickly arrived on the scene,” the report says. “Those other responders, who also had training on active shooter response and the interrelation of law enforcement agencies, could have helped to address the unfolding chaos. Yet in this crisis, no responder seized the initiative.”
Led by state Rep. Dustin Burrows (R), the House committee interviewed three dozen people and reviewed hours of audio-visual evidence, deposing everyone from McLaughlin to the 911 dispatcher, the school custodian, and Arredondo. Some initially resisted the interview requests, including Uvalde police officers and Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco, but after some negotiation, everyone relented.
The committee, which also included former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman (R) and El Paso State Rep. Joe Moody (D), held its interviews behind closed doors as the committee moved cautiously between ongoing criminal investigations by the Texas Rangers, the FBI and Uvalde District Attorney Christina Busbee.
The report’s authors said their goal was to provide much-needed answers to the Uvalde families, who struggle to trust anyone in authority in Texas amid competing narratives about how the children and teachers were killed.