Legislature’s Investigative Report on Uvalde Shooting Details Failed Law Enforcement Response, Inadequate School Safety

Flowers are heaped in front of photos of shooting victims from Uvalde.
Memorial to the students and teachers killed in the Uvalde shooting outside the Texas Capitol.

On Sunday, the Texas Legislature’s investigative committee released a thorough and damning report regarding the tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. The report details the inadequate response by law enforcement as well as missed red flags about the gunman, resulting in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers.

The report also highlights the lack of leadership by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police Chief Pete Arredondo, who argues he did not take control of the immediate response because of a loose assumption that other law enforcement officials would take charge of key decision-making. Several described the scene as “chaos” or a “cluster,” according to the report.

Additionally, the report details how the school itself was vulnerable to the gunman entering the building because of poor security, unlocked doors, and poor communication alerts to faculty, staff, and students. Many teachers were unaware of the shooting as it was taking place because of poor wireless internet signal that made it difficult to send a mass alert. Robb Elementary Principal Mandy Gutierrez also never attempted to communicate the lockdown over the school’s intercom system, the report details.

The investigative report also highlights missed warning signs from the gunman prior to the tragedy. The gunman had a history of strained relationships with his parents, little to any social bonds or friendships, and a troubled economic history, having been fired from two fast-food jobs and with past reported workplace hostilities. He had asked social connections to help with purchasing guns prior to turning 18, the legal age in Texas to purchase a gun. He deceived a family uncle into driving him to a local gun shop to purchase a weapon without directly asking. The gunman’s uncle was shocked by the news, claiming he never suspected any wrongdoing because the gun shop at which the shooter acquired the weapon he used to kill 21 people was also a popular restaurant.

Ultimately, the report details no attempt by anyone who interacted with the gunman to alert authorities about his troubling behavior.

The committee notably criticized state officials for misleading the public, which includes Gov. Greg Abbott’s immediate response to the tragedy. While the committee recognizes that it can take substantial time to answer every question that could arise in the wake of a crime, “one would expect law enforcement during a briefing would be very careful to state what facts are verifiable, and which ones are not.”

At this time, the governor’s office has not provided a comment on the legislative report. Based on the information provided in this report, it’s clear the shooting and the flawed response have undermined community trust, even outside of Uvalde. Ninety percent of Texas school employees surveyed by Texas AFT in June said they feared their campus could be next and wanted substantive changes made to safety protocols and gun laws.

The committee concludes its report, by noting, “it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue.”