Blistering report finds 'systemic failures' by authorities in the wake of Uvalde school shooting

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 weeks ago  •  44 comments

By:   Julianne McShane and Dennis Romero

Blistering report finds 'systemic failures' by authorities in the wake of Uvalde school shooting
A scathing report released Sunday by a Texas House committee investigating the mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde faulted "systemi

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A scathing report released Sunday by a Texas House committee investigating the mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde faulted "systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making" by law enforcement and the school district.

Also Sunday, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced that Uvalde's acting chief of police, Lt. Mariano Pargas, has been placed on leave as a city launched an investigation of his response and that of his officers.

In a statement Sunday afternoon, McLaughlin said the city's inquiry would "investigate whether Lt. Pargas was responsible for taking command on May 24th, what specific actions Lt. Pargas took to establish that command, and whether it was even feasible given all the agencies involved and other possible policy violations."

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Texas House committee report details 'multiple systemic failures' in response to Uvalde school shooting


The mayor also said the city will release body camera footage of the response of its officers. A city spokesperson did not respond to an attempt to reach Pargas. It's not immediately clear if he has legal representation.

The 77-page report specifies that beyond the gunman, no other individual is to blame for the May 24 massacre. Instead, the report outlines the roles that law enforcement agencies and officials, school officials, the gunman's family, social media platforms, and gun laws played in failing to intervene with the gunman, prevent the shooting or minimize the devastation.

"There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives. Instead, we found systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making," the report notes.

The U.S. Border Patrol, the Uvalde County Sheriff's Office, Uvalde city police, and Uvalde school police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Schools police Chief Pete Arredondo, who recently resigned his newly elected position on the City Council amid scrutiny of his leadership during the attack, has said that he had not believed he was in a position to assume command and that he and officers around him did everything possible to stop the shooter.

"My mind was to get there as fast as possible, eliminate any threats, and protect the students and staff," the chief, placed on leave during the ongoing investigations, told the Texas Tribune last month.

Speaking Sunday at a news conference on the report's findings, state Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, said any individual officer at the scene who didn't take more action or question who was in charge should be held accountable.

Officers at the scene had a responsibility to ensure there was "effective overall command" and to "ask more questions," he said.

State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, agreed, saying of each officer at the scene, "They should have done more, acted with urgency."

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who contributed to the report, suggested that, to date, focus on the response to the attack has been clouded by misinformation.

"Accurate facts have to provide the backdrop for any policy changes that come out of this," she said.

The report does not share every conclusion of the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has an ongoing investigation of the response, which included some of its own officers.

DPS Director Steve McCraw in late May placed the most blame for the prolonged and disorganized police move to neutralize the gunman on Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief Arredondo, who was at the scene early but who acted more as a foot soldier tracking the shooter than someone coordinating the response. Arredondo's department has six officers.

While 376 officers responded to the scene, a lack of clear leadership and direction contributed to officers' "overall lackadaisical approach," the report found.

Many responding officers "were given and relied upon inaccurate information," and others "had enough information to know better," the report concludes.

"The scene was chaotic, without any person obviously in charge or directing the law enforcement response," the report notes.

Lack of leadership and coordinated response


When the gunman first arrived on the scene, there was no law enforcement officer on the campus, according to the report. A coach at the school, Yvette Silva, "acted heroically and almost certainly saved lives by alerting the school to the attacker's advance," the report notes, adding that "most fourth grade classes successfully locked down as a result of her quick response."

When officers did arrive on the scene, the report says, their response quickly broke down.

Officers who first arrived on the scene about three minutes after the gunman entered the school "acted appropriately by attempting to breach the classrooms and stop the attacker," according to the report. At that point, Arredondo — a key focus of the report — "was actively engaged in the effort to 'stop the killing,'" the report states.

But after gunman returned fire on the officers, they "lost critical momentum by treating the scenario as a 'barricaded subject' instead of the greater urgency attached to an "active shooter" scenario."

Arredondo also failed to take on what the report characterizes as "his preassigned responsibility of incident command," which would have required letting the other officers know he was in charge and leaving the building to set up an incident command post. Instead, he remained in the hallway, and in doing so, he was unable to communicate with other law enforcement officers and "effectively implement staging or command and control of the situation," according to the report.

Arredondo also didn't know about the 911 calls coming from inside the classroom "because of his failure to establish a reliable method of receiving critical information from outside the building," according to the report.

"Even if he had received information of surviving injured victims in the classrooms, it is unclear that he would have done anything differently to act 'more urgently,'" the report adds of Arredondo.

Arredondo, who is on administrative leave from his role as police chief and resigned from his seat on the Uvalde City Council a month after being sworn in in the wake of widespread criticism, previously told the Texas Tribune he never considered himself the incident commander and instead acted as a front-line responder.

The officers' positions were also not tactically coordinated inside the school, the report found.

While Arredondo and other officers were clustered around the south end of the building, focused on entering the classrooms the gunman was in and securing protective equipment for officers, dozens of other officers were in the hallway on the north side of the building "stacking up for an assault on the classrooms, and mostly waiting for further instructions pending the arrival of protective gear and breaching equipment," the report states.

The report also blames other law enforcement officers for the breakdown in the police response.

Other officers on the scene should have recognized "obvious deficiencies in command and control" and approached Arredondo or other officers around him to offer assistance with incident command, according to the report.

Officers also assumed the classroom doors were locked without seeing if that was true, according to the report, which notes that the door of Room 111, one of the two in which the shooter was active, "probably was not effectively locked shut."

When the United States Border Patrol Tactical Unit, known as BORTAC, arrived on the scene, Arredondo didn't direct them, nor did they seek instruction from him, according to the report. BORTAC Acting Commander Paul Guerrero waited to try to enter the classrooms until obtaining a working master key and putting a rifle-rated shield in place.

The report concludes that "it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue," but notes that most of the victims probably died instantly upon being shot and that the committee "has not received medical evidence" to make a definitive judgment about whether a quicker response from officers at the scene could've saved lives.

Problems with school infrastructure and communication


The report also blames the school's infrastructure, and administrators, for communication and logistical failures that enabled the gunman to easily enter the building and unlocked classrooms to open fire.

Nobody used the school intercom to communicate the lockdown, and poor wi-fi likely delayed an alert that went out to teachers , meaning that "not all teachers received timely notice of the lockdown," including the teacher in one of the two classrooms the gunman breached. And because the school district frequently sent out "less-serious bailout-related alerts," many administrators, teachers, and law enforcement officials initially failed to take the lockdown alert seriously, the report states.

The school also had what the report describes as "a culture of noncompliance with safety policies requiring doors to be kept locked, which turned out to be fatal."

"Teachers at Robb Elementary often used rocks to prop open exterior doors," the report states, adding that the gunman was able to enter the building through an unlocked door.

Teachers also often left interior doors unlocked "for convenience," and used magnets and other methods to get around door locks, according to the report.

Various administrators knew that the lock on the door to Room 111 — one of the two classrooms the gunman breached — was faulty, but neither the principal, nor her assistant responsible for initiating maintenance work orders, nor the teacher took action to fix or replace it, the report notes. The door to Room 111 was "probably not locked" during the shooting and "required special effort to lock," and the teacher who was inside does not remember locking it or hearing a lockdown alert.

"If the door to Room 111 had been locked, the attacker likely would have been slowed for some time as he either circumvented the lock or took some other alternative course of action," the report states.

School, family failed to intervene with gunman


The report also outlines the roles that the gunman's unstable family and home life played in the context of the shooting, noting family members' failures to obtain mental health assistance on his behalf despite his "sociopathic and violent tendencies."

The gunman's father was absent and his mother struggled with substance abuse, the report states.

Social media threats weren't followed up


The report also places some blame at the feet of social media platforms on which the gunman allegedly made threats, but does not name any specific platforms.

The gunman also reportedly told social media contacts that he was "going to do something they would hear about in the news," and even referred to attacking a school, the report notes. Some of those contacts may have reported those threats to the social media platforms they received them on, but the platforms "appear to have not done anything in response to restrict the attacker's social media access or report his behavior to law enforcement authorities," the report states.

Additionally, the report notes that "the services used by Uvalde CISD to monitor social media for threats did not provide any alert of threatening behavior by the attacker," though the report doesn't state what those services consisted of or how exactly they monitored threats.

'The most complete telling to date'


Family members of the victims received the report Sunday, and printed copies of the report were hand-delivered to Uvalde and Texas officials on Saturday night in an attempt to prevent the report from being leaked to the media before the family members had a chance to review it, CNN reported.

The report notes that the committee's investigation into the shooting continues, but that it "believes this interim report constitutes the most complete telling to date of the events of and leading to the May 24, 2022, tragedy."

"We do not have access to all material witnesses. Medical examiners have not yet issued any reports about their findings, and multiple other investigations remain ongoing," the report states.

The report excludes both the name and image of the gunman "so as not to glorify him," it notes. The committee dedicates the report to the victims.

"This report is meant to honor them," it states.


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Revillug
Freshman Guide
1  Revillug    3 weeks ago
Blistering Report Finds 'Systemic Failures' By Authorities In The Wake Of Uvalde School Shooting

Ya think?

I am glad we have finally gotten to the bottom of our gun problem in America: Texans deleted

Face it. If they could take a punch they wouldn't need their effing guns.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Revillug @1    3 weeks ago

"While 376 officers responded to the scene, a lack of clear leadership and direction contributed to officers' "overall lackadaisical approach," the report found."'

 "The school also had what the report describes as "a culture of noncompliance with safety policies requiring doors to be kept locked, which turned out to be fatal."

LEO  agencies are considered to be paramilitary organizations and are trained to follow the chain of command. Someone clearly has to take charge.....even without backup.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    3 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
1.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    3 weeks ago
LEO  agencies are considered to be paramilitary organizations and are trained to follow the chain of command. Someone clearly has to take charge.....even without backup.

They are also SUPPOSED to be trained on handling situations where lives are at stake, and they don't have time to call in to find out what to do. 

That training should not be to wait until the suspect has emptied his clips into numerous children.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
1.1.3  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.2    3 weeks ago

The Texas House investigative committee agrees.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
1.2  Revillug  replied to  Revillug @1    3 weeks ago

This comment was actually improved by the punitive edit.

I'm new to this traffic ticket thing. What happens when you reach 100%?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2  devangelical    3 weeks ago

gee, there sure were a lot of good guys with guns in that school hallway while the shooting was taking place...

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
2.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @2    3 weeks ago

We need young progressives to step up and don the blue.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.1    3 weeks ago

we need old conservatives to step up and turn blue.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
2.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

Good luck with that.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

Some keep making the remark that progressives should 'step up and don the blue' regarding school shootings.

Why?

Why would we want to be police officers?  Maybe there are a lot of progressives that do but I'm not one of them.  

What does it have to do with anything?

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
3.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Tessylo @3    3 weeks ago
Why would we want to be police officers?  Maybe there are a lot of progressives that do but I'm not one of them. 

Maybe you missed the qualifier, "young".

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.2  devangelical  replied to  Tessylo @3    3 weeks ago

meh, I'm too old and can't be trusted with a loaded firearm in the presence of the willfully ignorant.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
3.2.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @3.2    3 weeks ago
I'm too old and can't be trusted

When were you ever trustworthy?

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
3.2.2  Hallux  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.2.1    3 weeks ago

Are Mondays take a cheap shot days? Maybe more wry in your coffee is in order.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
3.2.3  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Hallux @3.2.2    3 weeks ago

That's not a bad idea,  I headed to the cabinet for my Lot 40 bottle now.

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
3.2.4  Hallux  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.2.3    3 weeks ago

I'm jealous, daily blood thinners have dropped my consumption to zero.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
3.2.5  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Hallux @3.2.4    3 weeks ago

That would be very hard on me.  I hope you have found some alternatives.

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
3.2.6  Hallux  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.2.5    3 weeks ago

I take deep baths in Crepe Erase. Amazing stuff, I'm now just one big wrinkle.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
3.2.7  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Hallux @3.2.6    3 weeks ago
Crepe Erase.

I lost considerable weight will ill, I think I'll try this.  It looks like a cream that you rub on, must be pretty expensive to bath in it.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.8  Tessylo  replied to  Hallux @3.2.2    3 weeks ago

"Are Mondays take a cheap shot days? Maybe more wry in your coffee is in order."

Nah, that's every day.  

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
4  Greg Jones    3 weeks ago

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
5  SteevieGee    3 weeks ago

It's a good thing there were 376 'good guys with guns' there or 19 kids and 2 teachers could have been killed.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
5.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  SteevieGee @5    3 weeks ago

Seems like Pete Arredondo, UCISD Chief of Police, Active Shooter Training wasn't as effective as he previously thought.  

On 21 March 2022, the UCISD Police Department hosted an “Active Shooter Training” at the Uvalde High School. Our overall goal is to train every Uvalde area law enforcement officer so that we can prepare as best as possible for any situation that may arise. We have hosted several of these courses and plan to continue to do so. I would like to thank UCISD Officers Adrian Gonzales, Ruben Ruiz and UCISD Lieutenant Mike Hernandez for instructing the course. Additionally, we would like to thank Dr. Harrell and Mr. Mueller for supporting our plans to keep our children and staff safe. Great job to everyone!!

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
5.1.1  Hallux  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1    3 weeks ago

Someone showed up with a box of donuts.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
5.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Hallux @5.1.1    3 weeks ago

I wonder what the conversation will be like at next year's training.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
5.1.3  Ronin2  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1.2    3 weeks ago

They had better bring multiple instructors and break them up into as small as groups as possible to handle all of the questions. There had better be a ton of questions as well. Anyone staying silent better be the world's best note taker and studier.

Follow that up with several tests; including a live action scenario. 

My friend who was in the Rangers drilled protocol into his troops heads by repetition. By the time they left his command they knew their jobs in their sleep. He was the most hated instructor they had at the time. Oversaw the making of some damn good officers and soldiers.

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Principal
5.1.4  Split Personality  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1    3 weeks ago

Nothing replaces field training and drilling.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
5.1.5  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Split Personality @5.1.4    3 weeks ago

Don't I know.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.6  devangelical  replied to  Split Personality @5.1.4    3 weeks ago

we called that going to the drive-in when I was in high school.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
5.1.7  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  devangelical @5.1.6    3 weeks ago

So you snuck your girlfriend in in the trunk, good job, devangelical.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
5.2  Ronin2  replied to  SteevieGee @5    3 weeks ago

So are you going to disarm police, SWAT, BP, and Federal Officers now? 

How would that have stopped from what occurred?

Criminals would like to thank you in advance for your consideration. You are making their jobs very easy.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
5.3  Tacos!  replied to  SteevieGee @5    3 weeks ago
It's a good thing there were 376 'good guys with guns'

If you stand by and do nothing while children are being murdered - but you could stop it - then you’re not a “good guy.”

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
6  Drinker of the Wry    3 weeks ago

Not only stood by, but some prevented parents from entering the school.

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Principal
6.1  Split Personality  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @6    3 weeks ago

Others reportedly looked for their own kids and made sure those classes were evacuated.

That's Arredondo's mantra.  500 evacuated.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
6.1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Split Personality @6.1    3 weeks ago
That's Arredondo's mantra.

 Carlos has it right.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
7  Revillug    3 weeks ago

Just about no other country in the world has to have a metaphysical debate about the cause of gun deaths besides the USA.

Nowhere else in the world is debating how they can turn out better "good guys with guns" to protect us from the "bad guys with guns."

Nowhere else in the world are they selling schoolbook backpacks that can double as body armor for school children.

Everywhere else they recognize the universally correlated objects with gun violence and they address them: the guns.

Of course an incident like this happened in Texas. Given half a chance Texas would turn its flag into a picture of Jesus holding an AR-15. Now, as a nation, we half to endure months and months of a bogus investigation into how it was "the system" that failed as opposed to a morbid culture of gun fetish and gun swagger that delivers all this death.

Look what the gun nuts have done to America. 

And don't give them an ounce of forgiveness.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
7.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Revillug @7    3 weeks ago
Just about no other country in the world has to have a metaphysical debate

Of course not, we're special.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
7.1.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @7.1    3 weeks ago

Yep, we are the only ones blessed enough to have our children regularly murdered in their classrooms so some people can feel like their dicks are bigger. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
7.1.2  JBB  replied to  Thrawn 31 @7.1.1    3 weeks ago

Instead of guns give them magnifying glasses!

original

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
7.1.3  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Thrawn 31 @7.1.1    3 weeks ago

Accuracy and smooth operation are more important than caliber.  

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
8  Greg Jones    3 weeks ago

"the system" that failed as opposed to a morbid culture of gun fetish and gun swagger that delivers all this death. Look what the gun nuts have done to America."

What the fuck is a "gun nut" or gun fetish? Anyone who owns one? In case you haven't looked, it's the criminals and the criminally insane who are doing the killing

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
8.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Greg Jones @8    3 weeks ago

And easily able to buy guns do to do it. But no problem there yeah? The US is the only country in the world outside of third world war zones with this issue. Wer also have the loosest gun laws... may be a connection...

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
9  Thrawn 31    3 weeks ago

They fucked up, no more needs to be said from an LEO perspective. 

 
 

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