Uvalde school shooting response had 'no urgency,' plagued with 'cascading failures': DOJ report

The shooter was in the school for 77 minutes before his rampage was stopped.

Published: January 18, 2024 10:11am

Updated: January 18, 2024 10:46am

The mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, could have been stopped sooner if it were not for significant law enforcement failures, according to a scathing Justice Department report released Thursday.

Police had "cascading failures" in their response to the shooting on May 24, 2022, according to a nearly 600-page federal report, which slams first responders for a lack of leadership and demonstrating "no urgency" in creating a command post, among other things, per The Associated Press.

The "most significant failure" identified in the report states that responding officers should have immediately treated the incident as an active shooting and pushed forward until they entered the classrooms where the shooter was, per The Washington Post.

The shooter, 18-year-old Uvalde High School dropout Salvador Ramos, was in the school for 77 minutes on May 24, 2022, before his rampage was stopped. 

The significant delay was partially caused by a search for keys after first responders mistakenly believed that the classroom doors were locked. They did not test the assumption, and the Justice Department later found that eight doors in the building were unlocked.

The Texas House said in a preliminary report in 2022 that the massacre could not be stopped due to "systemic failures and egregious poor decision-making," and the Justice Department's new report shed significantly more light on the incident.

"The victims and survivors of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School deserved better," Attorney General Merrick Garland said after the report was released. "As a consequence of failed leadership, training, and policies, 33 students and three of their teachers — many of whom had been shot — were trapped in a room with an active shooter for over an hour as law enforcement officials remained outside."

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