Grand jury formed to review Uvalde school shooting

A Texas prosecutor has convened a grand jury to investigate the Uvalde school shooting that killed 21 people, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell told the San Antonio Express-News that a grand jury will review evidence related to the 2022 Robb Roy Elementary School shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead. She did not disclose what the grand jury will focus on, the newspaper reported.

The forming of the grand jury was first reported by the Uvalde Leader-News.

Families of the children and teachers killed in the attack renewed demands for criminal charges after a scathing Justice Department report released Thursday again laid bare numerous failures by police during one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history.

The report, conducted by the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing, known as the COPS Office, looked at thousands of pieces of data and documentation and relied on more than 260 interviews, including with law enforcement and school personnel, family members of victims, and witnesses and survivors from the massacre. The team investigating visited Uvalde nine times, spending 54 days on the ground in the small community.

"I'm very surprised that no one has ended up in prison," Velma Lisa Duran, whose sister, Irma Garcia, was one of the two teachers killed in the May 24, 2022, shooting, told the Associated Press. "It's sort of a slap in the face that all we get is a review ... we deserve justice."

Thursday's report called the law enforcement response to the Uvalde shooting an "unimaginable failure." The 600-page report found that police officers responded to 911 calls within minutes, but waited to enter classrooms and had a disorganized response. 

In the report, much of the blame was placed on the former police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, who was terminated in the wake of the shooting, although the report also said that some officers' actions "may have been influenced by policy and training deficiencies."

The school district did not have an active shooter policy, and police gave families incorrect information about the victims' conditions. Families said the police response to the May 2022 shooting – which left 19 elementary students and two teachers dead — exacerbated their trauma. 

The Justice Department's report, however, did not address any potential criminal charges.

"A series of major failures — failures in leadership in tactics, in communications, in training and in preparedness — were made by law enforcement and others responding to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary," Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a news conference from Uvalde. "As a result, 33 students and three of their teachers, many of whom had been shot, were trapped in a room with an active shooter for over an hour as law enforcement officials remained outside."

The attorney general reiterated a key finding of the Justice Department's examination, stating that "the law enforcement response at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, and in the hours and days after was a failure that should not have happened."

"Lives would've been saved and people would've survived" had law enforcement confronted the shooter swiftly in accordance with widely accepted practices in an active-shooter situation, Garland said.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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