Police officers who responded to the Uvalde school shooting are unlikely to be charged with any crimes for the lack of action taken during the May 2022 tragedy, despite a grand jury looking into the events that occurred.
A grand jury is expected to spend at least six months investigating the shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School, though legal experts have noted that it is unlikely any of the officers involved will face charges in the future, reported The Texas Tribune.
While it is currently unclear what specific charges the grand jury will consider, the Austin American-Statesman has confirmed that child endangerment is expected to be one of those charges.
The potential charges remain unclear due to Texas law requiring grand jury proceedings to be kept secret, with one expert saying backlash from the community may have contributed to the jury convening in the first place.
G.M. Cox, a Sam Houston State University lecturer and former chief of police, said he believes that Uvalde District Attorney Christina Mitchell “may be trying to create some goodwill in the community and maybe address her political concerns for her future,” per The Texas Tribune. “The reality is that it’s going to be tough to file a criminal case.”
The grand jury was convened shortly after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report regarding the actions of law enforcement that day. The report stated that “cascading failures of leadership, decision-making, tactics, policy, and training” occurred “prior to, during, and after” the shooting, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
This “Critical Incident Review” (CIR) by the DOJ also stated that a “lack of clear command presence” played a key role in the delayed response from law enforcement, as officers took 77 minutes to take action at the school.
Since the shooting, Texas lawmakers have passed new legislation regarding security at public schools, with HB 3 requiring each school to hire at least one armed guard to be present on campus during school hours.
Many of these changes have also occurred at the local level, with Denton ISD allocating more than $10 million of taxpayer money to boost security measures at four different schools in the district.
Despite the actions being taken by lawmakers and school districts, some families of those who were killed in the shooting have called for accountability.
Jesse Rizo, the uncle of a Uvalde shooting victim, said he wants charges to be brought but believes “the past will tell you basically what your outcome is going to be,” according to the Associated Press.
“Twenty months later, there’s no end in sight for this local district attorney to be able to do anything,” said Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), per NBC 5 DFW. “We don’t know if she’s going to indict anybody at all. It’s really a shame where we are now.”