Uvalde victims’ families sue Texas state police officers

The families of 19 of the victims in the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting announced a lawsuit Wednesday against more than 90 officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) over their response to the 2022 shooting.

The lawsuit, filed against 92 individual Texas DPS officers, noted the officers had active shooter response training prior to the shooting but still waited more than 70 minutes before confronting the shooter, according to a statement from the group of families.

The announcement comes two days ahead of the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 fourth-graders and two teachers dead.

The families and their attorneys pointed to the Department of Justice’s report — released in January — about law enforcements’ response.

The report painted a scathing picture of the response and found Uvalde district police officers failed to have a coherent, well-prepared plan for an active shooter attack.

The DOJ found that the police had no such unified policy and that even months after the shooting, “there were still no policies and procedures.”

“The most significant failure that day, according to the DOJ report, was that law enforcement did not treat the incident as an active shooter situation, despite clear knowledge that there was an active shooter inside, and did not use the available resources and equipment to push forward immediately and continuously to eliminate the threat,” the families’ and attorneys’ statement said.

“Instead, the shooter was able to continue the killing spree for over an hour while helpless families waited anxiously outside the school,” the statement added.

The suit marks the latest legal move from families of the victims seeking accountability from law enforcement.

“Law-enforcement’s inaction that day was a complete and absolute betrayal of these families and the sons, daughters and mothers they lost,” Erin Rogiers, one of the attorneys for the families, wrote in a statement. “TXDPS had the resources, training and firepower to respond appropriately, and they ignored all of it and failed on every level. These families have not only the right but also the responsibility to demand justice.”

The lawsuit against 92 Texas Department of Public Safety officials and troopers also names the Uvalde School District, former Robb Elementary Principal Mandy Gutierrez and former Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo as defendants, The Associated Press reported.

The families also announced they reached a $2 million settlement with the city of Uvalde, which involved a pledge from the city to enforce improved training for officers.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.