A “chaotic” situation, an absence of command, “apathetic” agents: a Texan parliamentary commission of inquiry pinned down on Sunday July 17 all the police services involved in the response to the killing at the Uvalde school , which left 21 dead on May 24. The report takes no detour: the officer in charge of the police in Uvalde that day, Mariano Pargas, is singled out and has already been dismissed.
The mayor of this city of Texas Don McLaughlin also promises a thorough investigation into the command of Lieutenant Pargas. Within the Uvalde police, “two or maybe three” officers left their jobs according to him.
A few weeks ago, Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was also suspended. “He did not assume his responsibility as commander” and he made errors of analysis because he did not have all the information, also believe the Texas parliamentarians.
According to the report, law enforcement “failed to follow their training” and “did not put the lives of innocent victims ahead of their own safety.” Yet they were 376 on the spot. Various departments were represented: border guards, state and city police, members of the local sheriff’s department or elite forces. But between the arrival of the first police and the death of the killer, 73 minutes elapsed, an “unacceptable” delay related to “an absence of command which may have contributed to the loss of life”, they write.
It is “likely that most of the victims perished immediately after the first shots”, some died during their transport to the hospital and it is “plausible” that they could have survived if they had been rescued more quickly, assert the representatives.
Texas Public Safety Director Steven McCraw had previously called law enforcement’s response “an absolute failure”: “the attitude of all officers was apathetic”, “the scene was chaotic, with no one is clearly in charge or leading the response”. The videos from the cameras carried by the police will be made public according to the mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughlin.
The report was presented to the relatives of the victims who, for weeks, regretted the lack of transparency of the authorities, suspected of wanting to conceal the failures of the police. Critics had increased after the release this week of a near excruciating video showing the shooter arriving at the scene with an assault rifle, then the long wait for officers in a school hallway.