“Other than the attacker, the Committee did not find any ‘villains’ in the course of its investigation,” the report stated. “There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives. Instead, we found systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making.”
On May 24, an 18-year-old male barged into the school with an AR-15-style rifle and murdered Nevaeh Bravo, Jacklyn Cazares, Makenna Elrod, Jose Flores Jr., Eliahna Garcia, Irma Garcia, Uziyah Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza, Xavier Lopez, Jayce Luevanos, Tess Mata, Maranda Mathis, Eva Mireles, Alithia Ramirez, Annabell Rodriguez, Maite Rodriguez, Alexandria Rubio, Layla Salazar, Jailah Silguero, Eliahna Torres, and Rojelio Torres.
Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles were teachers and the rest of the victims were children.
In addition to the report, the committee released the full surveillance footage of the hallway leading to Rooms 111 and 112. It depicts the 73 minute-delay between the first officers arriving at the scene and the moment a tactical team of border guards breached the door to kill the gunman.
The committee’s report describes “failures of facilities maintenance and advance preparation” that contributed to the tragedy. It also bewails the fact that law enforcement, including incident commander Chief Pete Arredondo, did not treat the situation with the necessary urgency.
“Instead of continuing to act as if they were addressing a barricaded subject scenario in which responders had time on their side, they should have reassessed the scenario as one involving an active shooter,” the report stated. “Correcting this error should have sparked greater urgency to immediately breach the classroom by any possible means, to subdue the attacker, and to deliver immediate aid to surviving victims.”
Other highlights include “relaxed vigilance” and an inadequate response to the school’s alert system, which was activated about 50 times between February and May of this year, due to an increase in “bailout” warnings. These are cases when illegal aliens flee from a vehicle in different directions to evade law enforcement, a common occurrence in areas near the southern border.
The report also describes the background of the perpetrator, including the social media interactions he had with others that signaled he was at risk to commit a school shooting.
Chairman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) promised the public would have a copy of the report and the surveillance video after it was made available to the family members of the shooting victims.
“We regret that others, under cover of anonymity and for their own motives, have sensationalized evidence of this horrible tragedy at the risk of glorifying a monster,” the report read.
Last week, the Austin American-Statesman produced a version of the video that includes footage of the gunman entering the school, something the investigative committee’s version excluded and hoped to keep under wraps for the sake of the victims’ families.
The two other members of the committee are former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso).
A copy of the preliminary report can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."