Uvalde Marks 2-Year Anniversary of School Shooting

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
May 24, 2024US News
Uvalde Marks 2-Year Anniversary of School Shooting
A heart-shaped balloon flies decorating a memorial site outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 30, 2022. (Wong Maye-E/AP Photo)

Families and community members gathered Friday in Uvalde, Texas, to mark the second anniversary of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

U.S. leaders also remembered May 24, 2022, when a teenage gunman stormed into Robb Elementary School and began shooting, killing 19 fourth graders and two teachers in the small town that lies about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

“They should still be with us—playing sports, creating art, dancing, laughing, learning, teaching, and making new memories with their families and friends,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement.

“Today, we are remembering their stories, standing with their loved ones, and thinking of their community.”

A number of events were scheduled throughout the day to commemorate the lives tragically killed two years ago. City offices also closed at noon in recognition of the tragedy.

On Friday morning, victims were remembered with a bell ringing and in song, followed by a butterfly release at St. Philips Episcopal Church in Uvalde, among other events.

A prayer vigil on Friday evening was also scheduled to commemorate the lives of those killed.

“Two years ago, Uvalde met with an unimaginable tragedy,” actor Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde, wrote on X, Friday morning.

“Today, let’s remember the victims and their families, what we all learned, and continue to do what we can to not have more of these memories.”

NTD Photo
Reggie Daniels pays his respects a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on June 9, 2022. (Eric Gay/AP Photo)

Lawsuits, Ongoing Investigations

Earlier this week, the families of 19 of the victims announced a $500 million federal lawsuit against 92 Texas Department of Public Safety officers who participated in the botched law enforcement response. It also names the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, former Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez, and former Uvalde School District Police Chief Peter Arredondo as defendants.

They also announced a $2 million settlement with the city, which included a promise by city leaders to uphold higher standards for local police officers and better training.

“For two long years, we have languished in pain and without any accountability from the law enforcement agencies and officers who allowed our families to be destroyed that day,” said Veronica Luevanos, whose daughter Jailah and nephew Jayce were killed, at a news conference on Wednesday.

“This settlement reflects a first good faith effort, particularly by the City of Uvalde, to begin rebuilding trust in the systems that failed to protect us.”

The federal lawsuit is one of several seeking accountability for the law enforcement that left students and teachers trapped inside the classroom as more than 370 federal, state, and local officers converged on the scene.

Terrified students called 911 as agonized parents begged officers—some of whom could hear shots being fired while they stood in a hallway—to go in. Finally, after 77 minutes, a tactical team of officers went into the classroom and killed the shooter.

“The protocols trap teachers and students inside, leaving them fully reliant on law enforcement to respond quickly and effectively,” the families and their attorneys said in a statement.

The federal lawsuit is the first to follow the 600-page Justice Department report, which detailed “cascading failures” in training, communication, leadership, and technology during the response.

“Law enforcement’s inaction that day was a complete and absolute betrayal of these families and the sons, daughters, and mothers they lost,” said Erin Rogiers, one of the attorneys for the families.

“TXDPS had the resources, training, and firepower to respond appropriately, and they ignored all of it and failed on every level. These families have not only the right but also the responsibility to demand justice.”

Attorney Josh Kaskoff said to expect more filings in the coming days.

“There will be lawsuits forthcoming,” he said at the news conference. “Most immediately against the state of Texas, which has done nothing at all.”

He said the state hindered families from receiving the information they needed in the aftermath and has failed to provide necessary resources.

Uvalde shooting
Responders are positioned at the north end of a hallway in Robb Elementary School during a mass shooting at the school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. (Texas House Investigative Committee)

Since the shooting, the state of Texas has mandated that law enforcement officers receive at least 16 hours of active shooter training every two years.

“We’re also suing down the line, and we’ll be suing the federal government,” Mr. Koskof said.

Uvalde District Attorney Christina Mitchell’s criminal investigation into the response remains ongoing. A grand jury was summoned earlier this year, and some law enforcement officials were called to testify.

At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the firearm that was used by the shooter.

Day of Remembrance

As part of the settlement with the city, a permanent memorial will be installed in the city plaza, and resources will be directed to support mental health services for the families and the greater Uvalde area.

“In remembrance on this somber day, we come together to remember and honor our beloved 21 angels, your legacy lives on in the kindness we show, the love we share, and the strength we find in each other,” wrote Uvalde CISD on X. “You are forever in our hearts.”

May 24 has also been established as an annual day of remembrance.

From The Epoch Times

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