Uvalde school shooting: Victims’ families sue Texas state police over response

A memorial at the sign for Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The families of children killed and injured after gunfire erupted at Robb Elementary School in 2022 said Wednesday that they are suing nearly 100 Texas Department of Public Safety officers for their response to the shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

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Two days before the two year anniversary of the shooting, the families said they also reached a $2 million settlement with the city.

At a news conference Wednesday, attorney Josh Koskoff announced the lawsuit from 17 of the families who lost children at Robb Elementary and two whose children were injured, according to KENS and the Texas Tribune.

“There will be lawsuits forthcoming, most immediately against the state of Texas, which has done nothing at all but burden this town before the shooting by not giving them the resources they need, (preventing) these families from getting the information they need and then blaming ... this city, as if they didn’t have how many police officers there?” Koskoff said.

“As if they weren’t heavily armed and the most well-trained,” he added, accusing the state of blaming “the least well-trained, least ... resourced and least equipped officers for a problem you helped to create.”

Nearly 400 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting on May 24, 2022. Surveillance footage showed officers in a school hallway minutes after the gunman arrived, although they did not confront the shooter for more than an hour.

Among those who responded were 92 Texas Department of Public Safety officers, KENS reported.

“Nearly 100 officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety have yet to face a shred of accountability for cowering in fear while my daughter and nephew bled to death in their classroom,” Veronica Luevanos, whose daughter Jailah and nephew Jayce were killed in the shooting, said in a statement obtained by the Tribune.

Kosoff said families will also sue the federal government. Nearly 180 federal law enforcement officials were among those who responded to the Robb Elementary shooting, according to the Justice Department.

The lawsuit announced Wednesday is the first since the Justice Department released a 610-page report in January outlining “cascading failures” in the law enforcement response to the school shooting.

As part of the $2 million settlement reached with family members, city officials agreed to create a new “fitness for duty” standard, provide enhanced training for Uvalde police officers and take other measures, Koskoff said. The settlement was capped at $2 million to keep from bankrupting the city, which will pay out the funds through insurance.

Koskoff said Uvalde officials approached the families to reach the settlement with a focus on “restorative justice,” which he described as “the type of justice or remedy that does not involve money, but it involves something that effectively demonstrates passion and respect to those that have been harmed.”

“This was one ray of sunshine in the healing process,” he said.

In 2022, victims and their families filed a class action lawsuit seeking $27 billion in damages. At least two other lawsuits have also been filed against the Georgia-based gun manufacturer Daniel Defense, the company that made the AR-style rifle used in the shooting, according to the AP.

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