Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

«Critical failures

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Small crosses with the victims' names on a memorial outside Robb Elementary School a few days after the shooting.

Agence France-Presse

It took police officers responding to a shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, an interminable 77 minutes to neutralize the shooter. The US Department of Justice deplored in a report on Thursday a “cascade of failures” in the response of law enforcement.

On May 24, 2022, at 11:33 a.m., a young man just of age, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, burst into an elementary school in this small, quiet town in Texas, killing 19 children aged 9 to 10, and two teachers aged 44 and 48.

The department team that led the investigation, launched at the request of the mayor of Uvalde in the days that followed, identified several critical failures before, during and after the shooting, according to its report. of more than 550 pages, published Thursday.

It points to a cascade of failures in command, decision-making, tactics, politics and training which contributed to these failures and shortcomings.

77 minutes after the arrival of the first police officers and after 45 shots from the perpetrator of the shooting, he was killed, summarized the secretary at Justice Merrick Garland, during a press conference in Uvalde at midday, devoted to this report.

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A few minutes after arriving inside the school, the officers on scene switched from dealing with a shooter situation to action like that of a madman. This is the most consequential failure.

A quote from Merrick Garland, Secretary of Justice

Because of this change in posture, for more than an hour injured and frightened students and teachers remained trapped with the suspect in two classrooms while waiting for help, recalled Merrick Garland.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Following the killing, the delay in police intervention to stop the massacre had provoked anger and incomprehension, the 19 officers on site awaiting the assault of a specialized unit.

This was despite law enforcement receiving numerous calls from people in the affected classrooms, including one from a child pleading: please send the police now.

Our children deserve better than to grow up in a country or a person of 18 years old can have easy access to a weapon that belongs on a battlefield, but not in a classroom.

A quote from Merrick Garland, Secretary of Justice

No police department or community can be certain that what they are doing is right. happened here, or Newtown, or Parkland, or Columbine will not happen at home. This is our reality, added the Deputy Secretary of Justice, Vanita Gupta, in reference to killings in educational establishments which traumatized the country.

This report offers 273 recommendations to address them, she said.

It was produced from 260 interviews and the analysis of more than 14,100 documents, according to the secretariat.

Democratic President Joe Biden responded in a statement by again urging an end to the epidemic of gun violence.

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Images from a surveillance camera show the police officers who responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, hesitating and waiting nearly 80 minutes before neutralizing the shooter.

He urged Congress, whose Republicans control one of the two chambers, to pass common-sense laws to prevent these killings, pleading for the establishment of systematic background checks on gun buyers and a ban on assault rifles.

In 2022, a commission Texas parliamentary investigation had identified that nearly 400 agents from different police departments had intervened in Uvalde.

Its report denounced a chaotic situation, a lack of command and apathetic police officers. The police chief of the Uvalde school district was fired in August 2022.

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