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'Systemic Failures' in Police Response Blamed in Texas School Massacre

FILE - Investigators search for evidence outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022, after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.

A new investigation of the mass shooting deaths of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in the southwestern state of Texas blames law enforcement officials and others for their haphazard, delayed response to the horrific attack two months ago.

An investigative committee of the Texas House of Representatives said it did not find any “villains” in the May 24 massacre beyond the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, but faulted law enforcement officials for waiting more than hour before finally barging into a fourth-grade classroom to confront and kill him.

"There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives,” the report, released Sunday, says. “Instead, we found systemic failures and egregious poor decision making," even though nearly 400 law enforcement personnel had swarmed to the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in response to the emergency.

The investigators blamed “shortcomings and failures of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District and of various agencies and officers of law enforcement" and “an overall lackadaisical approach” by authorities on the scene of the shooting.

The report was the first to blame both state and federal law enforcement, not just local authorities in the small city of Uvalde. Among those who responded to emergency calls about a gunman in the school were nearly 150 U.S. Border Patrol agents and 91 state police officials.

The report was released to family members of those killed in the incident, one of a spate of mass killings in the United States in recent weeks.

The Uvalde mass shooting, along with the killing of 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store in a racist attack, spurred the U.S. Congress to tighten gun sale restrictions in the U.S. for the first time in three decades and boost funding for school security and mental health treatment for those considered at risk of harming themselves or others.

The legislation, however, did not ban the sale of high-powered assault weapons like those used in both the Uvalde and Buffalo shootings, as well as a more recent mass killing in a Chicago suburb during an Independence Day parade on July 4.