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(UVALDE, Texas) – Texas lawmakers on Sunday released the first detailed investigative report into the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, exposing gaps in preparation, training and judgment related to the one of the deadliest school shootings in US history.
Their report, which painted the most comprehensive portrait of the massacre to date, describes a series of “shortcomings and failures of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District and various law enforcement agencies and officers.”
Members of a special committee of the Texas state legislature met Sunday with family members of the victims to present their findings and answer questions from a community still seeking answers nearly two months after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.
Family members of victims say the anguish of losing loved ones has been compounded by the failure of state and local leaders to explain what took officers nearly 77 minutes to confront and kill the gunman. 18 years old.
Law enforcement officials and elected officials have repeatedly shared misleading or contradictory information about the police response, testing the community’s faith in the leadership. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he was “misled” by authorities after he gave inaccurate information to the public days after the shooting – a mistake he says left him “livid “.
In those early hours, officials painted a picture of heroism and quick police action – but in the days and weeks that followed, that portrait was turned upside down.
“There are people who most deserve answers, and those are the families whose lives have been destroyed,” Abbott said. “They need accurate answers, and it is inexcusable that they could have suffered from any inaccurate information.”
During a hearing before a state Senate panel last month, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw called the police response a “dismal failure” and claimed that enough officers and equipment had arrived on the scene within three minutes to “neutralize” the shooter.
Surveillance video of the shooting obtained and released last week by ABC affiliate KVUE and the US statesman from Austin showed dozens of officers gathering outside adjacent classrooms where the shooter fired indiscriminately at students and teachers.
Lawmakers had planned to release the surveillance video on Sunday after meeting with the families, but were bumped earlier this week when media released the footage, angering some family members of the victims, who said they feeling caught off guard by the way things were being handled.
During his testimony last month, McCraw reserved his harshest criticism for Uvalde ISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, whom he accused of “[deciding] to put the lives of officers before the lives of children.” Arredondo, who did not respond to multiple interview requests from ABC News, told the Texas Tribune last month that he did not know he was the on-scene commander during the shooting.
ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis contributed to this report.
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