An official report published on Sunday detected serious coordination errors on the part of local, state, and federal security forces in the operation deployed during the Uvalde elementary school shooting in which 19 children and 2 teachers were killed.
The investigation, prepared by a Texas congressional committee and accessed by The Texas Tribune, concluded that the school rescue operation involved 376 officers in a chaotic and uncoordinated scene that lasted more than an hour.
The report determines that it took authorities so long to enter the classroom where the shooter, Salvador Ramos, had barricaded himself and a group of students due to systemic failures and extremely poor decision-making.
According to the report, the group lacked leadership and communication and lacked the urgency to take down the shooter.
This is the first time that errors have been pointed out by state and federal authorities, as until now the inquiries had pointed to the school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, as being responsible for the officers’ tardiness in storming the classroom.
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According to the report, 149 U.S. Border Patrol agents went to the school, as Uvalde is just a few miles from Mexico; 91 state police, 25 Uvalde police, and 16 sheriff’s deputies, as well as agents from neighboring counties, among other federal agencies.
Interviewed by the committee, several agents who participated in the operation explained that they did not know who was in charge of the operation and others said that Arredondo was responsible.
The report states that neither federal nor state agencies volunteered to lead the operation despite being better prepared than local police, and Border Patrol agents ultimately entered the classroom and shot the shooter without asking Arredondo’s permission.
The committee also concluded that the staff at Robb Elementary School often left the school doors unlocked because of a shortage of keys for all teachers.