A 77-page report released Sunday by a special Texas House of Representatives committee tells the story of total failure by law enforcement to protect children and staff of Robb Elementary School when they were attacked by a lone gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers on May 24.
Some 376 officers responded when the gunman walked through the school doors, yet 77 minutes passed before a small group of officers finally confronted the man and killed him.
It was “a force larger than the garrison that defended the Alamo — descended upon the school in a chaotic, uncoordinated scene that lasted for more than an hour. The group was devoid of clear leadership, basic communications and sufficient urgency to take down the gunman, the report says,” wrote the Texas Tribune on Sunday.
No one at the scene would take charge, the report says, as the gunman picked off the innocent children one by one.
State Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock was one of the lawmakers who called for the investigation. “This committee is a fact-finding committee. Our job was essentially to figure out what the facts were and to report it,” he said. “Today is not the day that we are going to share what our feelings and convictions are.”
“If there’s only one thing that I can tell you is, there were multiple systemic failures. Several officers in the hallway or in that building knew or should have known there was dying in that classroom, and they should have done more, acted with urgency,” he said during a press conference on Sunday.
“Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde C.I.S.D. chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance,” the report says.
The report says police “failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.”
On surveillance tape released last week, it’s clear that police officers arrived within minutes but would not go down the hallway to confront the gunman. More and more officers arrived, but still none would attempt to get to the gunman for over an hour.
Families of the Robb Elementary victims were shown the video on Sunday
The report also shows that existing gun laws would not have stopped Salvador Ramos from obtaining the weapon he used, and the expanded background checks passed by Congress would also not have prevented Ramos from obtaining the gun, as he had no documented history of gun violence. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted in favor of that gun control bill.
Accounts of what occurred that day had shifted over time. The report shows that the lieutenant who was supposed to brief Gov. Greg Abbott on the day following the shooting had “literally passed out while waiting in the hallway before hand.” The job of briefing the governor went to an officer who only had secondhand information.