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Uvalde families sue Texas DPS over Robb Elementary School shooting

A Texas Department of Public Safety officer stands in front of crosses with the names of victims of a school shooting, at a memorial outside Robb Elementary school, two days after a gunman killed nineteen children and two adults, in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 26, 2022.
Marco Bello
A Texas Department of Public Safety officer stands in front of crosses with the names of victims of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, two days after the massacre in May 2022.

The families of 19 victims of the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting announced a settlement Wednesday with the city and county of Uvalde. They also announced a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The families are suing the 92 individual DPS officers who were there that day when hundreds of officers from local, state and federal agencies waited for more than an hour to confront the gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers.

Meanwhile, the families reached a settlement with the city for $2 million and Uvalde County for $2 million — both in the form of insurance payments. That lawsuit named the then-Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief Pete Arredondo — who was supposed to be the incident commander that day — and then-Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez.

The settlement included efforts to rebuild the Uvalde Police Department, to establish May 24 as an annual day of remembrance, to design a permanent downtown memorial and to continue mental health support services for the community.

“Uvalde is a city in need of healing, and this settlement, the terms of which were reached through open, difficult conversations, is an important step forward in that process. The families we represent have every right to be distrustful and angry. I am in awe that, despite that, they agreed to find a way forward so this community can start to heal,” said Erin Rogiers, partner at Guerra LLP, an attorney for the families, along with Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder PC.

The recent legal developments followed a Department of Justice review that found lives would have been saved if not for unprecedented law enforcement failures.

“Law enforcement’s inaction that day was a complete and absolute betrayal of these families and the sons, daughters and mothers they lost. TXDPS had the resources, training and firepower to respond appropriately, and they ignored all of it and failed on every level," Rogiers said. "These families have not only the right but also the responsibility to demand justice, both for their own loss and to prevent other families from suffering the same fate.”

DPS did not respond to TPR's requests for comment.

Copyright 2024 Texas Public Radio

Kayla Padilla
Dan Katz is the news director of Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.
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