Uvalde Shooting Preliminary Report Details 'Systemic Failures and Egregious Poor Decision Making'

The 77-page report addresses errors in protocol on the part of the school and law enforcement

A memorial dedicated to the 19 children and two adults killed on May 24th during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School
Uvalde families grieve for loved ones . Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

New details about the Robb Elementary School massacre have come to light with the release of a preliminary report compiled by a Texas House Investigative Committee.

On May 24, 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos entered the school through an open back door and began firing more than 100 rounds inside two fourth-grade classrooms. A total of 21 people were killed, including two teachers and 19 children, after a gunman opened fire at the Uvalde, Texas school.

The response to the shooting has been scrutinized intensely since the incident, resulting in the resignation of the city's mayor. Many parents of victims have also shared how they feel that officers didn't do enough.

A 77-page document released on Sunday said there was "an overall lackadaisical approach" from law enforcement at the scene.

robb elementary school
Robb Elementary School. ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty

"There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives," the report said. "Instead, we found systemic failures and egregious poor decision-making. We recognize that the impact of this tragedy is felt most profoundly by the people of Uvalde in ways we cannot fully comprehend."

The report was put together by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R) — the chair of the investigative committee who represents District 83 in Lubbock — Rep. Joe Moody (D) — the Vice-Chair of the committee who represents District 78 in El Paso — and Public Member Hon. Eva Guzman.

The investigation revealed there were several unlocked doors at Robb Elementary, through which the gunman gained access to classrooms. Although safety protocols were in place, they were not adhered to.

The committee cited witnesses who said doors were often left unlocked, sometimes even propped open, because of a shortage of keys. Particularly in the case of substitute teachers, the report said, keys were not given to adults managing and supervising classrooms.

Arnulfo Reyes, a teacher in Rom 111 who was shot and survived, said he told the school his door lock was faulty, but the report states that "no one placed a written work order for repair." The report notes that the head custodian at Robb Elementary testified that he never heard about any problems with the doors for Rooms 111 or 112, "and if he had, he would have created a work order."

"Robb Elementary had a culture of noncompliance with safety policies requiring doors to be kept locked, which turned out to be fatal," the report said.

In this combination of pictures created on May 30, 2022 shows photos of 19 children and 2 teachers who died in the mass shooting are displayed at a makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas
Getty Images

Another factor contributing to relaxed vigilance on campus was the frequency of security alerts and campus lockdowns resulting from a recent rise in the "occurrence of human traffickers trying to outrun the police, usually ending with the smuggler crashing the vehicle and the passengers fleeing in all directions."

The report said there had been around 50 of them in the three months leading up to the school shooting, which started when the gunman crashed a car in the parking lot and began firing at two people who ran over to help.

Poor internet coverage and phone habits may have also contributed to the delay in teachers getting their classrooms locked down, the document states. The lockdown was never announced over the PA system.

"If the alert had reached more teachers sooner, it is likely that more could have been done to protect them and their students," the report found.

The massacre is the deadliest school shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting nearly a decade ago.

In June Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, called the response of law enforcement an "abject failure" and said Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was primarily at fault for the tragedy being fatal for so many.

However, the new report states that when "better trained and better equipped" officials came on the scene and saw the chaos, they failed to follow their training. According to the investigation, 376 law enforcement officers responded to the scene and the majority were representing federal organizations. UCISD had five officers on the scene. The rest consisted of 149 U.S. Border Patrol agents, 91 state police officers, 25 Uvalde police officers and 16 sheriff's deputies.

RELATED VIDEO: Uvalde Footage Shows Cops Backing Off Classroom After Getting Shot at, Not Confronting Shooter for 77 Minutes

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"Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde CISD 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 investigation found.

The school district in Uvalde has opened an official account with First State Bank of Uvalde to support Robb Elementary families affected by the tragedy. People can send checks through the mail (payable to the "Robb School Memorial Fund") or donate money through Zelle to robbschoolmemorialfund@gmail.com. People can also donate by calling 830-356-2273.

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