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376 Officers Showed Up to Uvalde School Shooting, as State and Federal Authorities Failed to Fill Leadership Vacuum: Lawmaker Report

Pete Arredondo gives a press conference on May 24 about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

A memorial for the victims of Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School is seen on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two adults were killed. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images.)

Almost 400 officers showed up to the devastating mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, according to a newly released report from a Texas House of Representatives committee. Investigators of the collectively botched response took issue with state and federal officers at the scene, according to the documents obtained by The Texas Tribune.

When Uvalde school district Police Chief Pete Arredondo left a leadership vacuum by entering the building, someone at the scene should have stepped up to coordinate efforts to save the children and teachers stuck inside with the gunman, investigators said.

“In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post,” the committee wrote, according to the Tribune. “Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde CISD chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance.”

Arredondo has previously told the outlet he did not consider himself the incident commander, and he said he assumed another officer stepped in to fill the role.

It was finally Border Patrol agents who made their way into the classroom without looking for Arredondo’s permission and killed the shooter Salvador Ramos, 18, the House report said. This was at 12:51 p.m., more than an hour after Ramos began his attack.

Of the total 376 law enforcement officers at the scene, 149 belonged to the U.S. Border patrol, 91 were state police, 25 were Uvalde police, five Uvalde school district officers, 16 sheriff’s deputies, and the remainder including U.S. Marshals officers, DEA officers, and officers from nearby county law enforcement.

“These local officials were not the only ones expected to supply the leadership needed during this tragedy,” the report said. “Hundreds of responders from numerous law enforcement agencies — many of whom were better trained and better equipped than the school district police — quickly arrived on the scene.”

[Image via Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images.]

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