Uvalde school shooting: Families of victims react to DOJ report

In a nearly 600-page report into the Robb Elementary School shooting, the Department of Justice looked closely at the initial response by law enforcement, calling it a "failure."

Federal officials in Uvalde on Thursday didn't mince words.

"It is hard to look at the truth that the law enforcement response on May 24 was an unimaginable failure and that lack of action by adults failed to protect children and their teachers," said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. "But we cannot look away from what happened here."


The shooter was killed 77 minutes after the first officers arrived on the scene and after 45 rounds had been fired by the shooter.

Failures outlined in the report include no establishment of a leader or command center and the decision to treat the shooter as a "barricaded subject" rather than an active shooter.

"The chaos and confusion that defined the law enforcement response while the shooter remained a threat also defined the aftermath of the shooting," said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

In the aftermath, some of the survivors who had been shot were put on buses without proper medical attention. Some families were told their loved ones survived when they did not.


False information was posted to social media and shared in initial press conferences.

"At 12:06 p.m. (on May 24), law enforcement posted on Facebook reassuring parents that ‘students and staff are safe in the buildings,’" said Gupta. "That false reassurance was never corrected."

Family members of lost loved ones expressed gratefulness to the DOJ and hope that the federal, comprehensive report would result in more accountability.

"It's probably the most updated information that any of us have gotten since May 24, so we’re very appreciative of what he’s done right now," said Veronica Mata, mother of Tess Mata. "We knew the failures that had happened, it just brings more clarity now because it’s written, and now it’s set in stone, and what we thought is true." 

"I hope that the failures end today and that local officials do what wasn’t done that day," said Kimberly Mata-Rubio, mother of Lexi Rubio. "Do right by the victims and survivors."

Gov. Abbott released the following statement after the report was released.

"Following the horrific tragedy at Robb Elementary School, Texas took swift action to bolster security in our schools and in our communities, and I thank the U.S. Department of Justice for their critical incident review of the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School. The State of Texas has already adopted and implemented some of the recommendations proposed by the DOJ in this review. We will continue to evaluate all possible means of making our schools safer, and we will carefully review all other recommendations the Department has offered to prevent future tragedies across our state."

To access the full report in English and Spanish, click here.