UVALDE, Texas (NewsNation) — A Texas state senator says the Texas House committee report on the Uvalde school shooting response shows that “nobody was in charge” and that Texans “deserve better.”
The 77-page report outlined “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making” by law enforcement and the school system, as well as the shooter’s family – concerns that Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez says he has been raising in the early days following the shooting.
The report criticizes law enforcement’s response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
The analysis paints a picture of more than 375 law enforcement officers on a chaotic scene with no clear leadership, accusing some officers of failing to “prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.”
“It shows us that really nobody was in charge. Nobody took control. Nobody took command. That’s what’s most disturbing about what happened on May 24,” Sen. Gutierrez said while appearing on NewsNation Prime.
While the House committee’s report is preliminary, Sen. Gutierrez believes there’s still much to be uncovered. He says he wants to know who the Texas Department of Public Safety was taking orders from, where each state trooper was situated and why they did not take action to save children in the school.
“I think the head of every office of every agency here needs to be held accountable, including Arredondo, including folks at the sheriff’s level, the police level. I mean, let’s be very, very clear. You had over 20 law enforcement agencies in the state of Texas […] This report indicates that is 20 People at very high levels failed to make decisions to the people that were below him.”
Gutierrez insists accountability also lies with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“Year after year after year, we’ve asked for change on common sense gun solutions like taking AR-15s out of the hands of 18-year-olds, and he has refused to do this time and time again. People are starting to wake up to the neglect that is happening in Texas.”
Texas is 30 days from school starting, and Gutierrez says parents want to know that their children are safe at school. He shared that he has grown close to many parents in his district in the aftermath of the tragedy.
“They’re good people, and they deserve better. We deserve better as Texans. We deserve better than what we’ve gotten, better than the answers that have been given by state agencies and state directors of agencies.”
Meanwhile, committee members hope the facts they have put together will allow law enforcement agencies to take a look at each responding officer’s actions May 24 and determine how they want to move forward or hold officers accountable.
This will be taken a step further when police body camera footage from the incident is released, which has been ordered by Mayor Don McLaughlin’s office along with the placement of Uvalde Lt. Mariano Pargas on administrative leave.
Although the report hits the inaction of police hard, committee members maintain the only villain in the tragic situation is the shooter.
Lawmakers made it clear the report is not meant to be comprehensive. There are still witnesses they would like to speak with and additional reports they would like to review in their efforts to form a more complete picture of what happened.