Uvalde victim’s father says he doesn’t know who to blame

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UVALDE, Texas (NewsNation) — The father of a 10-year-old victim in the Uvalde mass shooting says he doesn’t know who to blame after the release of the damning report detailing the chaos and miscommunciation during the hourlong standoff between gunman and police.

Alfred Garza is the father of Amerie Jo Garza, who was among the 19 students and two teachers who died after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in May.

The findings of an investigative committee released Sunday were the first to criticize both state and federal law enforcement, and not just local authorities in the South Texas city for the bewildering inaction by heavily armed officers as a gunman fired inside two adjoining fourth-grade classrooms at Robb Elementary School.

Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to the school, but “egregiously poor decision making” resulted in more than an hour of chaos before the gunman was finally confronted and killed, according to the report written by an investigative committee from the Texas House of Representatives.

The report criticized as “lackadaisical” the approach of the hundreds of officers who surrounded the school and said that they should have recognized that Arredondo remaining in the school without reliable communication was “inconsistent” with him being the scene commander. The report concluded that some officers waited because they relied on bad information while others “had enough information to know better.”

“I’m just trying to be patient with all this new information that’s coming in. And I mean, I don’t know who to really blame at this point,” Garza said. “And that’s why I have to wait and see. But there’s multiple people, multiple agencies that are to blame for this.”

Anger flashed in Uvalde even over how the report was rolled out: Tina Quintanilla-Taylor, whose daughter survived the shooting, shouted at the three-member Texas House committee as they left a news conference after the findings were released.

The report was the result of one of several investigations into the shooting, including one led by the Justice Department. Garza said the report release was hectic and he was not allowed in the room despite being a parent of one of the victims, blaming the fact that he and Amerie Jo’s mother were no longer romantically together.

Amerie Jo’s stepfather, Angel, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in June that classmates said his daughter was trying to call 911 on her cellphone.

Together, the report and more than three hours of newly released body camera footage from the May 24 tragedy amounted to the fullest account to date of one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history. The three hours of footage were released early last week by the Austin American-Statesman.

Hours after the report was released, Uvalde officials separately made public for the first time hours of body camera footage from the city’s police officers who responded to the attack. It included video of several officers reacting to word from a dispatcher, roughly 30 minutes after the shooting began, that a child in the room had called 911.

“It was very upsetting,” Garza said of the early footage release. “I think it was insensitive of that, you know, that new session to release that video or leak it before we had a chance to view it.”

The report was the result of one of several investigations into the shooting, including one led by the Justice Department.

You can watch the full interview with Garza in the player above.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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