DOJ Uvalde Report Lists Police Failures; Few Officers Faced Consequences

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But out of hundreds of officials who responded to the scene, according to the report, only a handful have faced any consequences so far.

On Thursday, the DOJ released its long-awaited report summarizing its investigation into how police and other officials handled the May 24, 2022, Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Despite nearly 400 officers and first responders arriving on the scene, officers didn’t take on the shooter until 77 minutes after he had entered the building because of a series of communication and leadership failures.

The DOJ’s scathing report details how officers hesitated to confront the shooter, violating training for how to handle active shootings.

Here’s a list of the agencies involved in the incident and what repercussions they faced — if any — for failing to save more lives that day.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department

The district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, was fired three months after the shooting, over accusations that he failed to do his duty as commander of the scene.

Two months later, the district police department suspended all of its officers after months of criticism for their handling of the deadly shooting.

Two officers were put on administrative leave, while a third chose to retire. The district’s other police officers were offered other jobs in the district, the schools said at the time.

The DOJ report says the UCISD PD didn’t do any internal investigations.

Customs and Border Patrol

A tactical team from the US CBP called BORTAC — which operates within 100 miles of the border, including Uvalde — was responsible for finally taking down the shooter, despite local police’s warnings to stay outside.

The CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility typically waits for criminal investigations to be completed before starting its own administrative one.

The Uvalde County District Attorney’s investigation into possible charges hasn’t finished as of January 2024, over a year since the shooting.

After waiting 9 months for the District Attorney’s local criminal investigation to wrap up, the CBP decided to start its own review anyway. No findings have been released.

Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office

The county sheriff’s office hasn’t started an internal investigation, but the DOJ report says it’s common practice for agencies to wait for a criminal investigation to be finished before starting their own administrative one.

The DOJ report does say, however, that waiting to start an investigation slows the process down.

Uvalde Police Department

The Uvalde Police Department (UPD) launched its own internal investigation into the incident, which hasn’t finished, according to the DOJ report.

The UPD also coordinated with the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) on an independent, external investigation, sharing evidence like police body camera footage, with the TXDPS, according to the report.

However, the TXDPS has not shared its data back with the City of Uvalde to help the UPD’s internal investigation, the report says.

Lt. Mariano Pargas — the acting UPD police chief at the time of the shooting — was suspended from his position a few months later while the city investigated if he had failed to take command of the scene.

He later stepped down from his position, after facing backlash from victims’ families, the Texas Tribune reported.

Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers

The director of the TXDPS Steve McCraw has said that seven of his members were investigated for their actions the day of the shooting, and their cases are currently being reviewed, according to the DOJ report.

Two TXDPS employees were fired, including a ranger, and one state trooper who was being investigated has resigned, according to the DOJ.

According to the Texas Tribune, the state trooper who resigned was later hired by Uvalde school’s police department, but the school backtracked after parents protested.

The four other officers were cleared and kept their jobs, the Texas Tribune reported.

In February 2023, state police said no other officers would be disciplined, according to the Associated Press.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

The ATF completed an investigation into the firearm used in the shooting, including the “hellfire trigger” the shooter had attached to make the AR-15 fire at a higher rate.

The ATF found that the design, marketing, and instructions for the “hellfire” device proved that its sole purpose was to turn a weapon into a machine gun.

And so, the weapon the shooter used is considered a machine gun under federal law, according to the DOJ report.

But the report notes that the crime scene investigators nearly didn’t spot the “hellfire” trigger; someone had thrown it out into a classroom trash can after the tragedy.

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