Committee Releases 77-Page Report On Uvalde Police’s Response To Robb Elementary Shooting

(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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An interim report detailed the “shortcomings and failures” of law enforcement’s response to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

The 77-page report released by a Texas House investigative committee concluded the school did not prepare “adequately” for a potential threat or attack due to the five-foot exterior fence and noncompliance by school personnel to lock the exterior and classroom doors. The committee said school administrators and district police “condoned” this threat through their failure to follow these basic safety protocols.

In violation of school policy, three doors to the west of the building had been left unlocked, allowing the alleged shooter Salvador Ramos to access entry, the report said.

“But had school personnel locked the doors as the school’s policy required, that could have slowed his progress for a few precious minutes — long enough to receive alerts, hide children, and lock doors; and long enough to give police more opportunity to engage and stop the attacker before he could massacre 19 students and two teachers,” the report said.

Room 111, which Salvador Ramos entered, had knowingly been easily accessible and frequently kept its doors unlocked, according to the report. An extra effort had to be conducted in order to make the room’s door lock, and a repairman had never been notified to fix it. There is evidence that the room’s door did not lock properly at the time of the shooting, and none that Ramos forced himself inside.

TOPSHOT - Police officers walk past a makeshift memorial for the shooting victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 26, 2022. - Grief at the massacre of 19 children at the elementary school in Texas spilled into confrontation on May 25, as angry questions mounted over gun control -- and whether this latest tragedy could have been prevented. The tight-knit Latino community of Uvalde on May 24 became the site of the worst school shooting in a decade, committed by a disturbed 18-year-old armed with a legally bought assault rifle. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

The report classifies the shooting as an “active shooter” incident as Ramos barricaded the room and prevented injured children from receiving medical attention. It is uncertain but “plausible” that more children could have survived if officers had breached the classroom earlier.

A total of 376 officers from several agencies who responded to the incident “failed to adhere to their active shooter training,” the report alleged. Officers were notified that the shooter had prevented children from accessing medical attention inside the barricaded classroom, yet prioritized more time awaiting advanced equipment and searching for a key to the classroom than rescuing children suffering from gunshot wounds.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw called law enforcement’s delayed action the “wrong decision” in a press conference days after the shooting.

There was no law enforcement officer on duty located at the school’s campus at the time of the shooting, the report found.

Two separate groups of officers entered through the west side of the building and recalled smelling gunfire as they entered the doors outside of Rooms 111 and 112. At around 11:37 a.m., Lt. Martinez reportedly retreated to the end of the hallways after hearing gunfire as he approached the door. (RELATED: ‘They Failed Us’: Family Of Uvalde Victim Demands ‘Accountability’ Over Botched Police Response)

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief, Pete Arredondo, testified that he treated the shooter as a “barricaded subject” rather than an “active shooter,” which the report considered to be a mistake. He made a phone call with Constable Johnny Field requesting tools to breach the classroom at around 12:21 p.m., when four more gunshots were fired.

A specialized team of Border agents, known as BORTAC, breached the classrooms at 12:50 and fatally shot Ramos. The shooting resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two fourth grade teachers.

At an initial press conference, the Uvalde police lieutenant instructed to inform Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of the incident “literally passed out while waiting in the hallway beforehand,” according to the report.

Meanwhile, Arredondo “did not assume his preassigned responsibility of incident command, which would have entailed informing other officers that he was in command and also leaving the building to exercise command, beginning with establishing an incident command post.” He further did not learn of the children’s repeated 911 calls and lacked other communication with officers as he remained in the hallway, leading officers unaware of who was in charge and further delaying action.

Ramos opened fire on the children with an AR-15-style rifle that he purchased legally after his eighteenth birthday, the report said. The gun store owner, who sold him three different rifles, said he was an “average customer with no ‘red flags’ or suspicious conditions.” A background check was conducted and he qualified for the sales.

The Department of Justice is currently investigating the police response to the shooting. A 77-minute surveillance video released by the Austin-American Statesman showed heavily armed officers entering the building and waiting outside the hallway for 73 minutes.

The school district placed Arredondo on administrative leave during the ongoing investigation in June.