Last Updated on July 18, 2022
The acting police chief in Uvalde, Texas has been suspended after the state House released a scathing report on the department’s response to the Robb Elementary School massacre.
The new report blasted the “overall lackadaisical approach” of responding officers, who did not confront the gunman for more than an hour after he entered the school. Officers “wasted” a “precious” 40 minutes while searching for a key to unlock the door to the classroom, which in all likelihood was not even locked, the probe stated.
“At Robb Elementary, law enforcement responders failed to adhere to their active shooter training, and they failed to prioritize saving innocent lives over their own safety,” the report said.
Among those who responded to the May 24 mass-shooting were 376 law-enforcement personnel: 149 Border Patrol officers; 91 members of the state Department of Public Safety; 14 from the Department of Homeland Security; 25 from the Uvalde Police Department; 16 from the San Antonio Police Department and another 16 from the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office.
Despite the massive response, the probe referred to “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making” that led to the high casualty count.
“In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post,” the report said. “Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde [school district] 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,” investigators continued. “In this sense, the entirety of law enforcement and its training, preparation, and response shares systemic responsibility for many missed opportunities on that tragic day.”
The scathing report has led to the suspension of the Chief Mariano Pargas, who was Uvalde’s highest-ranking law enforcement official at the scene of the shooting. Mayor Don McLaughlin confirmed the news on Sunday.
Additional disciplinary — and potentially legal — actions are expected to take place over the coming weeks and months.