Uvalde Shooting: Seeking Justice Two Years Later

Jesse Rizo, uncle to Jackie Cazares, listens to a presentation during a U.C.I.S.D school board meeting. | Image by Jinitzail Hernandez/Shutterstock
Jesse Rizo, uncle to Jackie Cazares, listens to a presentation during a U.C.I.S.D school board meeting. | Image by Jinitzail Hernandez/Shutterstock

Friday marks the second anniversary of the devastating Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the wounds inflicted on the community remain raw despite recent legal updates.

For the families of the 19 students and two teachers who lost their lives on that tragic day, the passing of two years has done little to ease the pain or provide closure for the extreme loss they endured.

Veronica Mata, whose 10-year-old daughter Tess Marie Mata was among the victims, shared her reflection on the past two years, telling ABC News, “The reality is hitting that Tess is no longer here with us. She’s gone and is never coming back.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, multiple agencies initiated separate investigations into the incident, seeking to understand the failures that led to such a catastrophic loss of life. Two years later, the search for answers and justice continues, with families demanding accountability from the law enforcement response on that tragic day.

A criminal case led by Uvalde District Attorney Christina Mitchell is among the ongoing investigations. A grand jury has been reviewing evidence related to the hundreds of officers who responded to the shooting, reflecting the magnitude and complexity of the probe, which was launched this January, as The Dallas Express reported.

The Justice Department’s scathing report from its investigation, released in January, exposed critical failures in the handling of the shooting before, during, and after the incident. The report further highlighted alleged deficiencies in training, communication, and response protocols, as reported by DX.

However, this contradicted a report from Jesse Prado, a private investigator based in Austin who the City of Uvalde commissioned to investigate the actions of the officers involved and their response protocol. Prado’s report concluded that, although there were several failures in the police response, none of the officers should be held accountable for any wrongdoing, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Prado found that the acting police chief that day, Lt. Mariano Pargas, “acted in good faith during this incident.”

In April, the victims’ families urged the Uvalde City Council to dismiss Prado’s report.

Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter died in the shooting, expressed disbelief, telling The Dallas Morning News, “You call that good faith? They stood there [for] 77 minutes.”

Officers did not breach the classroom where the shooter was hiding for more than 70 minutes. Upon entering the room, officers responded to fire from the shooter and neutralized him.

In response to the revelations uncovered by the Justice Department’s investigation, the City of Uvalde has undertaken significant reforms, including enhanced training, equipment upgrades, and a comprehensive overhaul of police department policies, according to ABC.

However, for many families, these measures ring hollow without tangible accountability.

Gloria Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter Jackie died in the shooting, expressed her lack of confidence in the proposed reforms.

“What I want is those officers that were in the hallway, those officers that were immediately in the hallway, there has to be some kind of consequences. I would like to see them lose their jobs,” Cazeras told ABC News.

In a recent development, 19 families reached a settlement with the City of Uvalde, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Furthermore, families of the victims filed a $500 million federal lawsuit on Wednesday, naming 92 officials and troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, along with former Robb Elementary principal Mandy Gutierrez, former Uvalde CISD Police Chief Peter Arredondo, and Uvalde CISD itself, as reported by AP News.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article