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Texas Department of Public Safety investigating how 91 of its troopers and Rangers responded to Uvalde school shooting

The department’s officers made up nearly one-fourth of the 376 law enforcement members who responded to Texas’ deadliest school shooting.

UVALDE, Texas — (The Texas Tribune) The Texas Department of Public Safety is reviewing how 91 state troopers and Rangers responded to the Robb Elementary School shooting to determine if any violated policies or laws.

The agency’s announcement Monday that it had formed an internal committee for the inquiry comes nearly two months after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in Texas’ worst school shooting — and one day after a Texas House panel report found that 376 law enforcement officers from several agencies descended on the scene in a chaotic, uncoordinated response that stretched for 73 more minutes.

The DPS committee, formed last week, will also determine “where the department can make necessary improvements for future mass casualty responses,” according to a department statement.

“No additional information will be available until the committee has completed its full review of the department’s response,” the statement said.

The House committee report released Sunday described how the shooter prepared and armed himself, how the school district fell short on campus safety preparations and how law enforcement moved too slowly to end the massacre. It provided the most thorough account yet of the May 24 school shooting and the failures of law enforcement.

For weeks, state leaders have largely blamed Uvalde schools police Chief Pete Arredondo for law enforcement waiting more than an hour to confront the gunman. But the House report said failures went beyond local police. The report said 376 law enforcement officers from several local, state and federal agencies lacked clear leadership, basic communications and sufficient urgency to take down the gunman.

During a news conference here Sunday, the three-member House committee didn’t publicly address the legal or professional fates of specific law enforcement officers. Eva Guzman, the former Texas Supreme Court justice, said officers who failed to take action should not be working in law enforcement.

“The report says that if you’re not willing to put the lives of the people you serve or of those children before your own, in my view you should find another job,” she said.

Uvalde police Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was the acting chief for the city’s police department on the day of the shooting, was put on administrative leave, Mayor Don McLaughlin announced on Sunday. Arredondo, the police chief of the school district’s police department, is also on leave and has been largely blamed for the delay in confronting the shooter.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.


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