Sunday, April 14, 2024

Uvalde shooting: Families of victims angry after private investigator says officers not at fault

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A person named Jesse Prado, who was investigating how the police responded to a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May 2022, shared his findings at a city meeting. He said the local police did nothing wrong and acted in good faith, but this upset many families who lost loved ones in the attack. They disagreed with the findings and wanted accountability.

One parent, Veronica Mata, whose daughter Tess died, criticized Prado’s statement, saying the police waited for 77 minutes after getting calls about kids still being alive. Prado, a retired detective, left the meeting but returned later due to demands from parents.

During the meeting, Prado admitted there were “many failures” in the police response but didn’t point out specific officers. His 182-page report cleared the local police and praised their actions. This angered some families who questioned if these were the people they’d want responding to such incidents.

Some families left the meeting early, and others spoke emotionally, promising to continue fighting for accountability. Council member Ernest “Chip” W. King III expressed disappointment with the findings, saying it wasn’t what they expected.

A mother, Felisha Martinez, confronted Prado outside the meeting, questioning if he truly believed what he said was right. She accused him of hurting the families by defending the police who, according to her, didn’t do anything when they were already inside the school.

Prado claimed that Uvalde police followed orders correctly, but he mentioned a tactical commander, Paul Guerrero, who called off a move that could have stopped the shooter earlier. Guerrero decided not to enter a classroom, fearing it would take too long to open the locked door.

Contrary to Prado’s timeline, a previous report stated that a rifle-rated shield was delivered earlier, raising questions about the accuracy of the information presented. Prado admitted facing difficulties in gathering evidence, blaming the district attorney for not allowing him access to information from other sources.

This independent investigation comes after previous reports criticized the law enforcement response to the school shooting. Families have been seeking accountability for nearly two years, and the meeting further fueled their frustration. The discussion also occurred after two individuals, criticized for their actions during the shooting, received support from voters to continue in law enforcement roles in Uvalde.

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