“Critical failures” delayed the police response to the 2022 shooting in Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, according to a damning US Department of Justice review.
The report found shortcomings in “leadership, decision-making, tactics, policy and training” led to a confused response to gunman Salvador Ramos at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on 24 May.
Officers should have immediately broken into the classroom to confront the 18-year-old gunman – but instead they treated him like a “barricaded subject” and left him inside with 33 pupils for 77 minutes.
“The resulting delay provided an opportunity for the active shooter to have additional time to reassess and re-engage his deadly actions inside the classroom,” the report added.
“It also contributed to a delay in medical interventions with the potential to impact survivability.”
There were at least 10 “stimulus events” over the course of an hour that could have driven police to take steps under active shooter protocols to “immediately stop the killing”.
These events included “at least six separate instances of gunfire” and about “45 rounds in law enforcement officer presence”.
In the 20 months since the review was announced, footage emerged of the gunman entering the school and police later waiting outside the fourth-grade (Year 5) classrooms where he opened fire.
In the aftermath of the shooting, authorities also gave wrong information to parents about whether their children had survived or not, according to the review.
Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter was killed in the shooting, told reporters she “hopes the failures end today” and called for “criminal prosecutions” and to “enact civil gun laws”.
“It [the shooting] began the day an 18-year-old was allowed to purchase an AR-15 [rifle],” she said.
“None of us are safe because these weapons are on the streets.”
Another said he hopes the report “lights a fire under the district attorney”.
He added: “It’s hard enough waking up every day and continuing to walk on these streets… and see a cop that was standing there while our babies were murdered and bleeding out.”
Velma Lisa Duran, whose sister Irma Garcia was one of the teachers killed, said she is grateful for the review but disappointed local prosecutors are yet to bring charges.
“A report doesn’t matter when there are no consequences for actions that are so vile,” she said.
“What do you want us to do with another report? Bring it to court.”