AUSTIN, Texas – Texas state police will not discipline any more of its officers over the Uvalde school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead as heavily armed agents hesitated to confront the lone gunman, a spokesperson confirmed Friday.
The decision is a turning point nearly nine months after one of the worst school attacks in U.S. history, and the widespread outrage over the officers who allowed more than 70 minutes to go by before stopping the massacre.
It also raises new questions about how many of the nearly 400 law enforcement personnel who were at Robb Elementary School last May might face discipline. They came from a constellation of agencies in South Texas, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, U.S. Border Patrol and local police. Two DPS officers have been fired, and one of them is appealing his termination.
In total, five officers in Texas who were on the scene that day are known to have either been fired or resigned.
State police had 91 officers on the scene, more than any other law enforcement agency. Travis Considine, a spokesman for the department, confirmed Friday that four of seven officers placed under internal review after the shooting were cleared of wrongdoing. DPS Director Steve McCraw told The Dallas Morning News on Thursday that no others would face discipline.
“Just the two,” McCraw said.
Officers on the scene waited more than 70 minutes before a team finally breached a fourth-grade classroom and confronted the 18-year-old gunman, who had been armed with an AR-15 style rifle and fired more than 140 rounds inside the school, according to an investigative report by Texas lawmakers.
Body camera video, school surveillance footage and witness accounts have since laid bare the lengthy inaction by police and how no officers rushed to stop the attack. McCraw has called the response an “abject failure.”
The first DPS officer was fired in October. Another of the seven resigned before the review was finished, then joined the Uvalde school district as a campus police officer. She was fired less than 24 hours after outraged parents in Uvalde found out about her hiring.
Uvalde’s school police chief at the time of the attack was fired in August and the city’s acting police chief that day later stepped down.
Several parents of the victims have demanded for months that McCraw resign. Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose district includes Uvalde, has also said McCraw should go. But the longtime DPS director reiterated to reporters Thursday that he planned to stay on the job.
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