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Uvalde Police Inaction Now at Center of Robb Elementary Shooting Massacre Investigation

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The sound of anguished parents screaming at the Uvalde Police’s lack of action during Tuesday’s active shooter event is one of the more haunting aspects of the coverage of the horrific massacre at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead. The stories told by the children who survived are even worse.

Now the investigation is focusing on the inaction of the school district police chief and other law enforcement officers, whose delay in confronting the shooter — who was inside the school for more than an hour — could lead to discipline, lawsuits, and even criminal charges against police.

UVALDE, TEXAS – MAY 26: A memorial is seen surrounding the Robb Elementary School sign following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 26, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

By Friday, authorities acknowledged that students and teachers repeatedly begged 911 operators for help while the police chief told more than a dozen officers to wait in a hallway at Robb Elementary School. Officials said he believed the suspect was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and that there was no longer an active attack, but he was in a classroom with children who were both dead and still alive, traumatizing the survivors. The chief’s decision, and the officers’ apparent willingness to follow his directives against established active-shooter protocols, prompted questions about whether more lives were lost because officers did not act faster to stop the gunman, and who should be held responsible.

 

Some parents were so enraged by the police doing nothing, they took action themselves and were then punished for it by Uvalde officers. One mother, who had two students inside Robb Elementary, drove 40 miles to get to them as soon as she heard about the shooting. Once there, she attempted to enter the school and was detained by the police, but managed to convince them to free her. As soon as that happened, she ran inside, found her kids, and left all before the police ever made it inside themselves.

As the teenage gunman fired at the children, law enforcement officers from other agencies urged the school police chief to let them move in because children were in danger, two law enforcement officials said. Audio recordings from the scene capture officers from other agencies telling the school police chief that the shooter was still active and that the priority was to stop him. But it wasn’t clear why the school chief ignored their warnings.

Criminal charges are rarely pursued against law enforcement in school shootings. A notable exception was the former school resource officer accused of hiding during the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. But even Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who still sent a video message to the NRA Convention in Houston, criticized the Uvalde Police for their lack of a response. “The bottom line would be: Why did they not choose the strategy that would have been best to get in there and to eliminate the killer and to rescue the children?” Abbott said.





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