'Egregiously poor decision-making’ by cops left 21 dead at US school: Report

Published on Jul 19, 2022 08:36 AM IST

A report on the Texas school shooting in May this year has found that chaotic response of nearly 400 law enforcement officers on spot behind one of the worst school shootings in the United States.

A woman cries at a makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 30, 2022. (AFP)
A woman cries at a makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 30, 2022. (AFP)

About two months after the Uvalde school shooting in Texas, United States, a report has been published that reveals the chaotic nature of the state response, creating a taint in the history of the county where gun violence remains a top concern. An 80-page report on the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 dead was termed “devastating” and “unacceptable” by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The damning investigative report found the nature of poor response in the incident, calling it "systemic failures and egregiously poor decision-making" by those involved in the response that caused the huge number of deaths. “There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives. Instead, we found systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making,” it said.

The report was published on Sunday. The Texas state police on Monday announced an internal review to the incident, multiple reports said. “This is going to set back law enforcement 20 years. It really will,” Greg Shaffer, a retired FBI agent who’s now a Dallas-based security consultant, was quoted as saying by Associated Press. “It was a calamity of errors,” he said.

“You have to assume there are people in critical need of medical attention,” he said.

“The terminology that we use when we train is, ‘You have to stop the killing before you can stop the dying.’” That was a tragic lesson from the 2016 mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, where more than half the people killed bled to death before they could get emergency care," the retired FBI agent noted.

Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to the school, but for more than 70 minutes on May 24, not one could stop the shooter, the report stated. The findings were the first since the incident to explain just how massive a presence the state police and US Border Patrol had on the crime scene during the school shooting.

The decisions taken resulted in more than an hour of mayhem before the gunman was finally confronted and killed, according to the report.

The shooter – 18-year-old Salvador Ramos – reportedly fired approximately 142 rounds inside the school, and it is “almost certain” that at least 100 shots came before any officer entered, according to the committee, which laid out numerous failures.

Altogether, the report and more than three hours of newly released body camera footage from the May 24 tragedy amounted to the fullest account to date of one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history. Some families blasted police as cowards and demanded resignations.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the findings in the report “are beyond disturbing” but did not single out any one agency.

The report also put a new spotlight on the roles of state and federal agencies whose leaders, unlike local authorities, haven't had to sit through meetings where they were confronted by the furious parents of the dead children.

Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in the massacre at Robb Elementary School of Texas on May 24.

(With inputs from Reuters and AP)

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