FULL REPORT: Read the Texas House report on Uvalde school shooting, failed police response

Nearly 400 officers responded to the Robb Elementary School shooting on May 24, report says

Students fled and authorities helped others evacuate after a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24. (Courtesy Of Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News, Courtesy Of Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News)

UVALDE – Nearly two months after the state’s deadliest school shooting, a comprehensive report on the failed police response and missed red flags was released to families of victims and the public.

The report was prepared by a Texas House special investigating committee and released to families Sunday morning and the public at 2 p.m.

The 81-page report is the most comprehensive view of what took place leading up to and during the shooting. It includes 15 conclusions (see below embed).

Findings were based on law enforcement interviews with family members, data on the shooter’s phone, and testimony presented to the committee.

According to the Texas Tribune: “376 law enforcement officers — a force larger than the garrison that defended the Alamo — descended upon the school in a chaotic, uncoordinated scene that lasted for more than an hour. The group was devoid of clear leadership, basic communications and sufficient urgency to take down the gunman, the report says.”

The meeting will be followed by a 4 p.m. press conference, which can be watched below:

Video courtesy of ABC.

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Can’t see the embed below? Click here.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who formed the committee, released a statement Sunday afternoon:

“The interim report released today by the Texas House Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting provides some of the most thorough and accurate information released to date surrounding the tragic situation that occurred on May 24 in Uvalde. I thank Chair Burrows and the committee’s other two members, Representative Moody and the Honorable Justice Guzman, for their thoughtful and diligent work — it has provided answers to the people who need it most. With transparency and accuracy as its guiding force, the investigative committee has equipped the Texas House with the facts our chamber needs to continue to respond to this tragedy in the coming months and during the 2023 legislative session. I look forward to conversations with the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety and Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee on this matter and the robust policy discussions our members will have heading into next year.”

15 conclusions

The report included 15 conclusions. See them in full below.

Uvalde CISD and Robb Elementary

a. Communications and lockdown alerts:

i. Poor wi-fi connectivity in Robb Elementary likely delayed the lockdown alert through the Raptor application.

ii. Once the alert was sent, not all teachers received it immediately for a variety of reasons including wi-fi coverage, whether the teacher used the Raptor phone application (as opposed to logging in through a web browser), and whether the teacher was carrying a phone at the time.

iii. No one used the school intercom as another means to communicate lockdown.

iv. As a result, not all teachers received timely notice of the lockdown, including the teacher in Room 111.

b. Effect of bailouts:

i. The frequency of less-serious bailout-related alerts in Uvalde diluted the significance of alerts and dampened everyone’s readiness to act on alerts.

ii. In response to the May 24, 2022, lockdown alert at Robb Elementary, the initial reaction of many administrators, teachers, and law enforcement responders was that it likely was a less-dangerous bailout.

c. Doors and locks:

i. Robb Elementary had recurring problems with maintaining its doors and locks.

ii. In particular, the locking mechanism to Room 111 was widely known to be faulty, yet it was not repaired.

1. The Robb Elementary principal, her assistant responsible for entering maintenance work orders, the teacher in Room 111, other teachers in the fourth-grade building, and even many fourth grade students widely knew of the problem with the lock to Room 111. Nevertheless, no one placed a work order to repair the lock—not the principal, her secretary, the teacher to Room 111, or anyone else.

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

1. Exterior doors.

a. Teachers at Robb Elementary often used rocks to prop open exterior doors.

b. The west door to the west building was supposed to be continuously locked. When the attacker approached on May 24, 2022, it was unlocked, and he was able to enter the building there.

c. If the door had been locked as policy required, the attacker likely would have been slowed for some period of time as he either circumvented the lock or moved another point of entry into the building.

2. Interior classroom doors.

a. Teachers at Robb Elementary commonly left interior doors unlocked for convenience, and they also used magnets and other methods to circumvent door locks.

b. The doors to Rooms 111 and 112 were required to be locked at all times, and in a lockdown, the teachers were supposed to check that they were locked.

i. A teacher in Room 112 was seen locking her classroom door after the lockdown alert.

ii. The door to Room 111 probably was not locked. The teacher in Room 111 does not recall hearing the lockdown alert. The door required special effort to lock it, and the teacher has no memory of having done so. The attacker apparently did not have to take any actions to overcome a locked door before entering the classrooms.

c. If the door to Room 111 had been locked, the attacker likely would have been slowed for some time as he either circumvented the lock or took some other alternative course of action. Information that was known or knowable about the attacker.

Home and family:

i. The attacker had an unstable home life with no father figure and another struggling with a substance abuse disorder.

ii. The attacker’s family moved often and lived in relative poverty.

iii. The attacker developed sociopathic and violent tendencies but received no mental health assistance.

iv. Various members of the attacker’s family were aware during the time leading up to the attacker’s 18th birthday that he was estranged from his mother and that he had asked for help in buying guns through straw purchases that would have been illegal. Family members uniformly refused to buy guns for him.

v. During the week between his 18th birthday and the events of May 24, 2022, the attacker expressed suicidal ideation to a cousin, who talked to him and did not believe he was an imminent suicide risk.

vi. During the week between his 18th birthday and the events of May 24, 2022, the attacker’s grandparents and other family members became aware that the attacker had bought guns. The grandparents demanded that the guns be removed from their home.

b. School:

i. The attacker struggled academically throughout his time in school.

ii. The school made no meaningful intervention with the attacker before was involuntarily withdrawn for poor academic performance and excessive absences.

iii. The attacker had few disciplinary issues at school, but he was suspended once for a fight.

iv. Due to his excessive absences, there apparently was no information actually known to the school district that should have identified this attacker as a threat to any school campus.

c. Law enforcement: There apparently was no information actually known to local Uvalde law enforcement that should have identified this attacker as a threat to any school campus before May 24, 2022.

d. Friends and acquaintances: Some of attacker’s social media contacts received messages from the attacker related to guns, suggesting that he was going to do something they would hear about in the news, and even referring to attacking school.

e. Social media:

i. Reports suggest that some social-media users may have reported the attacker’s threatening behavior to the relevant social media platforms. The social media platforms appear to have not done anything in response to restrict the attacker’s social media access or report his behavior to law enforcement authorities.

ii. The services used by Uvalde CISD to monitor social media for threats do not provide any alert of threatening behavior by the attacker.

f. Firearms and ammunition sellers: There was no legal impediment to the attacker buying two AR-15-style rifles, 60 magazines, and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition when he turned 18. The ATF was not required to notify the local sheriff of the multiple purchases.3. Law enforcement response on May 24, 2022a. There was no law enforcement officer on the Robb Elementary campus when the attacker came over the fence and toward the school.

b. Citizens at the scene quickly alerted local law enforcement about a vehicle accident, a man with a gun, and shots fired near the Robb Elementary campus.

c. As initially reported by Uvalde Police dispatch and as understood by most initial responders, the incident began off-campus and as one that would have been in the jurisdiction of the Uvalde Police Department. Uvalde Police officers were among the first, if not the first, law enforcement responders on the scene as a man firing a gun moved toward Robb Elementary School.

d. As the situation developed and responders received more information, it became apparent that the threat moved on to the school campus and within the jurisdiction of the Uvalde CISD Police Department.

e. Multiple law enforcement officers arrived at Robb Elementary within a few minutes of the attacker coming over the fence.

f. A Uvalde Police Department officer saw a person dressed in black and thought might have been the attacker. From a distance of over 100 yards, that officer requested permission to shoot. Subsequent analysis suggests that the person in black was a school coach, and the officer did not have an opportunity to stop the attacker by shooting him before he entered the west building.

g. Robb Elementary School Coach Yvette Silva acted heroically and almost certainly saved lives by alerting the school to the attacker’s advance. Most fourth grade classes successfully locked down as a result of her quick response. After entering through the unlocked west door, the attacker had about three minutes in the west building before first responders arrived at the building, including approximately two and a half minutes during which the attacker is estimated to have fired over 100 rounds.

i. The initial responders to the west building heard gunfire and encountered a hallway with a fog of drywall debris, bullet holes, and empty rifle casings. They converged on Rooms 111 and 112, which they identified as the location of the attacker. They acted appropriately by attempting to breach the classrooms and stop the attacker. The attacker immediately repelled them with a burst of rifle fire from inside the classrooms.

j. The responders immediately began to assess options to breach the classroom, but they lost critical momentum by treating the scenario as a “barricaded subject” instead of with the greater urgency attached to an “active shooter” scenario.

k. It actually was an “active shooter” scenario because the attacker was preventing critically injured victims from getting medical attention.

i. An active shooter scenario differs from a barricaded-subject scenario in that law enforcement officers responding to an active shooter are trained to prioritize the safety of innocent victims over the safety of law enforcement responders.

ii. At first, the first responders did not have “reliable evidence” about whether there were injured victims inside Rooms 111 and 112, although circumstantial evidence strongly suggested that possibility, including the fact that the attacker had fired many rounds inside classrooms at a time when students were in attendance.

iii. The ALERRT training “reliable evidence” standard does not align with the “reasonable officer” standard applied by ALERRT in its preliminary and partial report.

l. Uvalde CISD’s active shooter policy called for Uvalde CISD Police Chief Arredondo to be the incident commander in any active shooter response.

i. Chief Arredondo was one of the first responders to arrive at the west building.

ii. In the initial response to the incident, Chief Arredondo was actively engaged in the effort to “stop the killing” up to the point when the attacker was located in Rooms 111 and 112, and the attacker fired on responding officers.

iii. By this time, there were dozens of officers on the scene, but Chief Arredondo did not assume his preassigned responsibility of incident command, which would have entailed informing other officers that he was in command and also leaving the building to exercise command, beginning with establishing an incident command post.

iv. Instead, he remained in the hallway where he lacked reliable communication with other elements of law enforcement, and he was unable to effectively implement staging or command and control of the situation.

m. Over the course of the next hour, hundreds of law enforcement officers arrived at the scene.

i. The scene was chaotic, without any person obviously in charge or directing the law enforcement response.

ii. To the extent any officers considered Chief Arredondo to be the overall incident commander, they also should have recognized that was in consistent with him remaining inside the building.

iii. There was an overall lackadaisical approach by law enforcement at the scene. For many, that was because they were given and relied upon inaccurate information. For others, they had enough information to know better.

n. Despite obvious deficiencies in command and control at the scene which should have been recognized by other law enforcement responders, none approached Chief Arredondo or any of the officers around him or subordinate to him to affirmatively offer assistance with incident command.

o. Chief Arredondo and the officers around him at the south end of the building were focused on gaining access to the classrooms (through use of a breaching tool, a key, or other means) and protective equipment for officers (through rifle-rated ballistic shields, flashbangs, etc.).p. Meanwhile, dozens of law enforcement officers were assembling in the hallway on the north side of the building, stacking up for an assault on the classrooms, and mostly waiting for further instructions pending the arrival of protective gear and breaching equipment.

q. While 911 received communications from victims inside Rooms 111 and 112, Chief Arredondo did not learn about it because of his failure to establish a reliable method of receiving critical information from outside the building.

r. Eventually, Chief Arredondo came to understand there probably were casualties inside Rooms 111 and 112. Even if he had received information of surviving injured victims in the classrooms, it is unclear that he would have done anything differently to act “more urgently.”

s. U.S. Marshals provided a rifle-rated shield and it arrived around 12:20 p.m., approximately 30 minutes before the classroom was finally breached. While officers acted on the assumption that the doors to Rooms 111 and 112were locked, as they were designed to be, nobody tested that assumption.

u. Room 111′s door probably was not effectively locked shut.

v. Chief Arredondo did not actually exercise tactical incident command over the BORTAC team, nor did the BORTAC team seek instruction from Chief Arredondo.

w. By the time the BORTAC team breached the classrooms, the tactical command inside the building had been de facto assumed by BORTAC.

x. Acting on effectively the same information available to Chief Arredondo, including an assumption of injured victims in the room, the BORTAC commander on scene waited until arranging a rifle-rated shield and obtaining a working master key before attempting to breach the classrooms.

y. The Committee has not received medical evidence that would inform a judgment about whether breaching the classroom sooner than the approximately 73 minutes that passed between the first responders’ initial arrival at the west building and their eventual breach of the classrooms could have been saved lives or mitigated injuries.

i. As described above, it is likely that most of the deceased victims perished immediately during the attacker’s initial barrage of gunfire.

ii. However, given the information known about victims who survived through the time of the breach and who later died on the way to the hospital, it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue.

77-minute video from inside school released

Footage from inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde was also released on Sunday to families and the public.

The 77-minute video includes images captured by surveillance cameras inside the school on May 24. No audio is included.

The video begins after the gunman enters the classroom and ends as law enforcement breach the door more than an hour later.

According to a DPS condensed timeline released on June 21, 2022, one hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds pass from the time law enforcement first enters the school to the period where the gunman is killed.

Families of the Robb Elementary victims were shown the video at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Nearly two months after the state’s deadliest school shooting, footage from inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde was released on Sunday to families and the public. The 77-minute video includes images captured by surveillance cameras inside the school on May 24. No audio is included.

State Representative Dustin Burrows, a Lubbock Republican who is chair of the Texas House special investigative committee, said the families will privately be shown the video, which will not include audio.

“Chairman Burrows and his committee colleagues have stated on many occasions that respecting the victim’s families and members of the Uvalde community is of the highest priority. Furthermore, the committee has promised that the video and the report would not be made public until family members had a chance to view both. To that end, the committee will make the report and hallway video available (via email) to the media concurrent with the beginning of the “families” meeting at 2pm CT tomorrow (Sunday). This meeting will be closed press,” wrote Matt Crow, spokesperson for Burrows.

This release comes just days after the Austin American Statesman released the video unexpectedly with audio on Wednesday, July 12.

On Twitter, Representative Burrows expressed his displeasure in the early release of the video.

His frustration was mirrored by Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin and members of the victim’s families, as well as DPS.

Find more reporting on Uvalde here:

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.