According to a new report released Sunday, almost 400 officers were gathered outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, before anyone attempted to breach the school and take down the shooter who had barricaded himself inside.
The report, compiled by a Texas House Committee, detailed a series of missteps on a number of fronts — from the shooter’s family failing to identify warning signs to the school’s apparent habit of leaving doors unlocked or propped open — but the strongest condemnation was reserved for law enforcement officers who arrived on the scene and then waited to act for over an hour.
“They failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,” the report read, openly criticizing law enforcement for failing to act in the face of a clear emergency — and making it clear that the biggest failure had not been in a lack of manpower or equipment but a lack of leadership and communication at a critical moment.
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) July 17, 2022
MSNBC host and Politico White House Bureau Chief Jonathan Lemire shared the report’s assessment on Sunday afternoon, tweeting, “Report: Findings reveal nearly 400 officers were at Uvalde elementary school as police waited to confront gunman.”
UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Report: Findings reveal nearly 400 officers were at Uvalde elementary school as police waited to confront gunman.
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) July 17, 2022
While much of the heat in the wake of the shooting has been directed at local authorities — Uvalde school district officers and local sheriff’s deputies — the report indicated that the overwhelming majority of responders on the scene had been state police officers (91) and U.S. Border Patrol agents (149). The remainder were U.S. Marshals, federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officers, and local authorities from neighboring counties.
“These local officials were not the only ones expected to supply the leadership needed during this tragedy. 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 committee wrote, adding that any one of those other officers “could have helped to address the unfolding chaos.”
The report was authored by three committee members —Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock; Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso and former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman — with the stated goal of creating a comprehensive enough account to aid in making new policies that might stop such a horrific tragedy from happening again.
“The Committee issues this interim report now, believing the victims, their families, and the entire Uvalde community have already waited too long for answers and transparency,” they said.