DOJ Uvalde report says law enforcement response to school shooting was a failure

The Justice Department on Thursday released a hard-hitting report on the response by law enforcement to the 2022 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, calling it a “failure” and citing a host of issues that allowed the attack to go on even as scores of police officers were on the scene.

Launched in late May 2022 at the behest of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin soon after the shooting that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers, the “critical incident review” sought to provide an independent account of law enforcement responses and identify lessons to be learned and applied to future active shooter events. It provides a federal accounting of the events that took place at Robb Elementary School and shocked the nation and Uvalde community, which is still reeling from the massacre.

“The response to the May 24, 2022, mass casualty incident at Robb Elementary School was a failure,” the 575-page report states.

The review analyzed what it called “cascading failures of leadership, decision-making, tactics, policy and training” that contributed to a breakdowns during all phases of the response to the shooting. There were also failures in “leadership, command and coordination,” according to the report.

The Justice Department found that 11 officers with the school district and Uvalde Police Department got to the school within three minutes of the shooter’s arrival and headed to a classroom after hearing gunfire. But several of those officers retreated to take cover after they were hit by shrapnel as the gunman fired his weapon, a high-powered AR-15 rifle. It would be another hour before police tried to breach the classroom door again, the review found.