Families of the children and teachers killed in the Uvalde, Tex., school massacre are renewing demands for criminal charges after a U.S. Justice Department report alleged numerous failures by police during one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history. “I’m very surprised that no one has ended up in prison,” said Velma Lisa Duran, whose sister, Irma Garcia, was one of the two teachers killed in the May 24, 2002, shooting. “It’s sort of a slap in the face that all we get is a review ... we deserve justice.” The release of the nearly 600-page report Thursday —20 months after the shooting — leaves a criminal investigation by Uvalde County prosecutors as one the last unfinished reviews by authorities into the attack at Robb Elementary School, reports the Associated Press. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in two fourth-grade classrooms, while police officers waited in the hall for more than hour before confronting the gunman.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called the police response “a failure that should not have happened.” His department's report is silent on the question in the minds of many victims’ families: Will anyone responsible for the failures be charged with a crime? President Biden said Thursday that he had not yet read the report, “but I don’t know that there’s any criminal liability." Since the shooting, at least five officers have lost their jobs, including two from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the on-site commander, then-school district police chief, Pete Arredondo. No one has been charged in the criminal investigation that was led by the Texas Rangers. The Justice Department said the FBI has assisted the Rangers but is not doing its own investigation. The Rangers — part of the Texas DPS, which had more than 90 officers on the scene of the shooting — submitted their initial findings at the start of 2023. Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell had hoped to bring the case to a grand jury by the end of last year. She pushed back that timeline in December and said Thursday she will need time to review the voluminous Justice Department report.