The Uvalde City Council said Tuesday it will investigate every city police officer who responded to the shooting massacre at Robb Elementary School on May 24.
Jesse Prado, a former Austin police detective, has been appointed to lead the investigations, the city council announced. He will conduct individual interviews with the 25 officers on the police force who went to the shooting scene, CNN reported.
This latest action from the city council comes after a legislative report identified “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making” in response to the attacker who killed 19 children and two teachers while hundreds of responding officers failed to stop the gunman.
“This investigation is looking at every single officer and what his actions — what he did, what our policy says — and basically, we’re gonna get a report on everybody,” Councilman Ernest “Chip” King III said, according to CNN.
King added that the city “will act” on Prado’s report and hold accountable those responsible for the failed police response.
“He’s gonna be conducting the investigation and we’re gonna let the investigation go, see what he determines, but everybody that’s Uvalde PD that was there will be held accountable for their actions,” he said.
A Texas House investigation condemned what the lawmakers called “an overall lackadaisical approach” by federal, state, and local authorities to the shooting. There were 376 responding law enforcement officers at Robb Elementary School, yet the report found that it took authorities 77 minutes from the time the gunman entered the school building to breach the classroom he had occupied and neutralize him.
The report also said that numerous law enforcement officials abandoned police protocol and training for active shooter situations.
“They failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,” the report said.
The Uvalde City Council has already placed Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was the police department’s acting chief on the day of the massacre, on administrative leave pending an investigation into whether he should have assumed command.
Additionally, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District has put its chief of police, Pete Arredondo, on administrative leave and suspended Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez, who was found to have been aware of security issues with improperly locking doors but failed to act.
Some members of the public who attended the city council meeting called for all the responding city officers to be suspended or placed on desk duty, CNN reported.
“I know parents want answers. Nobody wants to give those answers more than I do on the city council,” Councilman Hector R. Luevano told attendees.
“I’m a former police officer, so I have some insight into actions that need to be taken,” he added. “I can assure the families in this community that I’m going to do everything within my power as a member of this council to give you the answers that you need to hear.”
“If there’s any officer that’s in violation of any policy or procedure that they needed to act on and did not and might have caused these children to die, these teachers to die, I can assure you, heads are going to roll,” Luevano said.
The city council announced the investigator should complete his work within two months, at which time Prado will make recommendations on potential disciplinary actions to the council.