The 77-page “interim report,” first made available to the victims’ families, described “an overall sobering approach” by nearly 400 agents who responded, several of whom were from federal agencies.
Bodycam footage of first responders provided to CNN also sheds light on how law enforcement endured the agonizing 77 minutes at Robb Elementary, which ended as the second-deadliest shooting ever at a K-12 school in the US.
The report comes in the wake of law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of the shooting, as well as local officials decrying a lack of transparency and teaching victims’ families piecemeal what more could have been done to save their loved ones.
The report found that “the entirety of law enforcement and its training, preparation and response shares system responsibility for many missed opportunities.”
According to the report, the police who came in knew there had been gunshots, evidenced by a “cloud of debris” in the hallway, bullet holes in the walls and used gun casings on the floor.
But there was no evidence that officers “had any understanding when they arrived at the building that teachers and students had been shot in the classrooms at the time.”
According to the commission’s report, first responders lost “critical momentum” by treating the situation as a “barricaded subject” scenario, calling for a more measured response compared to an active gunman.
Had they recognized the situation as an active gunman scenario, they should have prioritized the “rescue of innocent victims over the precious time wasted searching for door keys and shields to improve the safety of law enforcement responders,” the report states.
Of the 376 emergency responders at the scene, 149 were from the United States Border Patrol, 14 from the Department of Homeland Security and 91 from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The report did not specify when agents from each responding agency arrived on the scene.
CNN has reached out to the Texas DPS, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Uvalde School District, the City Police Department and the Uvalde District Attorney, among others, for comment.
‘Lack of effective command and control’
In a hearing before a Texas Senate committee last month, Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, called the authorities’ response an “abject failure,” blaming the site commander, who the state authorities classified it as a school. Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo.
“My approach and thought was to respond as a police officer. So I didn’t give myself a title,” Arredondo said in the investigative report.
The report also noted that others could have taken command.
Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training “teaches that any law enforcement officer can take the order, that someone must take the order, and that an incident commander can transfer responsibility as an incident develops,” it says.
“That didn’t happen at Robb Elementary, and the lack of effective command and control is a major factor that has caused other vital measures to be undone,” the report said.
The report attributed some of the failed responses to a communication breakdown, where information known to some outside the school may not have been passed on to those within the school.
“Notably, no one ensured that emergency personnel making important decisions in the building received information that students and teachers had survived the first salvo of gunfire, were trapped in (classrooms) and called for help,” the report says.
Robb Elementary had problems of its own, according to the investigative report, which found that poor Wi-Fi “probably delayed the lockdown alarm” on the day of the shooting. Not all teachers received the report immediately and the school intercom was not used to communicate during the lockdown.
“As a result, not all teachers were notified of the lockdown in a timely manner,” the report said.
In addition, the school had what the report calls “recurring problems” with doors and locks, including the locking mechanism of room 111, which “was widely known to be defective, but was not repaired”.
“Robb Elementary had a culture of non-compliance with security policies that required keeping doors locked, which proved fatal,” the report says.
New video captures confusion and chaos
Dramatic body-camera footage first provided to CNN by Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin offers a close-up look at law enforcement’s response to the unfolding massacre.
The video was released to CNN on Sunday, the same day the interim report was released. It shows officers smashing windows and pulling children from other classrooms of the school, as well as into a hallway fumbling with keys and failing to open a door near where a gunman was in control of two classrooms full of dead, dying and terrified children and teachers.
The footage shows close-ups from just outside Classrooms 111 and 112 and reveals conversations between officers and pleas with the gunman.
CNN spent hours checking the body-camera footage, including new footage from Uvalde Police Sgt. Daniel Coronado, who was among the first to arrive at 11:35 a.m., and UPD officer Justin Mendoza.
According to the video, Coronado identifies the gunman as a “male subject with an AR” at 11:39 a.m., minutes after the gunman first entered the classrooms and shortly after firing at the officers.
There is initially confusion as to whether the shooter was in an office, but at 11:42 a.m. a call is made that it is the class of Eva Mireles, a teacher who called to tell her husband, Uvalde police officer Ruben Ruiz, that she had been shot. .
Mendoza’s bodycam at around 12:11 a.m. shows officers learning that BORTAC – a border patrol rapid response team – is still 30 minutes away. Around the same time, Coronado’s bodycam picks up someone who calls out to the gunman in English and Spanish to surrender.
In Mendoza’s video, a dispatcher can be heard saying there is a child on the line from “Room 12” talking about a “room full of victims,” which was passed to Uvalde’s acting PD chief at the scene, Lieutenant Mariano Pargas. , which has no audible comment.
On Sunday, the city of Uvalde announced that Pargas had been placed on administrative leave to further investigate his role in law enforcement. CNN has contacted Pargas for comment and has not received a response.
New shooter background details
The report did not name the shooter or show his image, “not to glorify him,” but did provide information about his background both at home and at school as a student of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.
Although he had “few disciplinary problems,” he struggled academically, having not completed ninth grade until he was 17. And the school made “no meaningful intervention” before eventually being involuntarily expelled from school for poor performance and excessive absences last year. October.
Because of those absences, the report says, there was “no information actually known to the school district that should have identified this attacker as a threat to a school campus.”
But the gunman sent messages about guns to some of his social media contacts, the report says, and he would suggest he was “going to do something” that they would hear about on the news.
Some users may have reported the behavior to the social media platforms, the report notes, but the platforms “appear to have done nothing in response.”
Before the shooting, several members of the gunman’s family knew that he had “asked for help buying straw weapons, which would have been illegal,” the report said. “Family members refused uniform to buy weapons for him.”
Travis Caldwell, Matthew J. Friedman and Elizabeth Joseph of CNN contributed to this report.