ALERRT report on Uvalde

July 6, 2022
A dark school hallway with doorways

What happened in Uvalde?

The first report of its kind on one of the worst school shootings in American history.

"While the discussion will be frank and objective, it is not meant to demean the actions taken by law enforcement during this incident. Rather, the discussion is intended to improve future response. For this reason, attention will be drawn to actions that worked well and actions that did not."

ALERRT — Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, the leading organization for active shooter training in the nation. On behalf of the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, ALERRT prepared a report on law enforcement response to the Uvalde school shooting.

What To Know:

  • The report is 20+ pages long. We separated out two highlights attributed to ALERRT's assessment.

  • The report uses information provided by an on-scene investigator days after the shooting, as well as video surveillance and other resources. ALERRT notes the investigation remains ongoing and conclusions may change with new information.

  • The shooting occurred on May 24, 2022. 19 students and 2 teachers were murdered; 17 injured.

Report Findings:

  • Context: The shooter easily entered the school. The door of the classroom he entered became a focus in the aftermath as reports suggested that officers could not unlock it.

  • Exterior Door: A teacher propped open the door and then shut it as she warned others. The door should have automatically locked to the outside, but did not.

  • Classroom Door: Law enforcement did not check the door nor attempt to open it during the incident. The door was never locked; its lock was apparently broken.

Report Findings:

  • A responding officer unknowingly drove past the gunman in the parking lot before he entered the school.

  • Separately, an officer asked for permission to take a shot at the gunman while they both were still outside. He did not get a response (at all or in a timely way), nor take the shot.

  • After being met with gunfire minutes after entering the school at 11:30 a.m., officers did not return fire, try to enter the classroom, distract the shooter, or move towards the classroom until 12:50 p.m.

Big Picture

  • The report suggests the issue with law enforcement response was not speed (law enforcement responded quickly), manpower (there were 11 officers in the school within minutes), or gear (the first ballistic shield arrived before noon).

  • ALERRT's assessment: Law enforcement lacked leadership and clarity on what to do. Officers needed to engage the shooter immediately, in any way, in order to "Stop The Killing. Stop The Dying" — the priority of active shooter response.

One confirmed fact from the report? Most of the gunfire happened within the first five minutes of the shooter entering the school, which raises more questions about how many people could have been saved with quicker action by officers.

"We commend the officers for quickly entering the building and moving toward the sounds of gunfire. However, when the officers were fired at, momentum was lost. The officers fell back, and it took more than an hour to regain momentum and gain access to critically injured people."

The PDF of this report is available on ALERRT.org

by Jenna Lee,

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