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Special grand jury appointed to examine key events in Uvalde mass shooting

The move could potentially lead to the first criminal indictment since the shooting

Michelle Del Rey
Saturday 20 January 2024 00:18 GMT
Related video: Merrick Garland chokes up saying Uvalde victims ‘deserved better’ as DOJ report released

A special grand jury has been selected to examine the events that took place during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The panel of 12 is expected to spend at least six months studying the May 2022 incident before issuing a recommendation on whether to bring forward criminal charges, the Uvalde Leader-News reported.

Christina Mitchell, the Uvalde district attorney, may then decide to bring criminal charges which would then be presented to a standard grand jury, potentially leading to the first indictment since the tragedy.

“I want to ensure that our efforts in this process are careful, deliberate and fair. I am continuously mindful of my responsibility to the victims, their families, to those under a cloud of accusation and to our community,” Ms Mitchell said.

The Independent has reached out to the Uvalde District Attorney’s Office for comment.

Several families of the victims have expressed frustration at the lack of action they believe Ms Mitchell’s office has taken in bringing criminal charges forward against law enforcement officials who responded to the tragedy in which 19 children and two teachers died.

The announcement comes one day after the US Department of Justice released a nearly 600-page report on the shooting, calling the law enforcement response to the tragedy a “failure”. However, it’s not yet known if the events are related.

In this photo from surveillance video provided by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District via the Austin American-Statesman, authorities respond to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on 24 May 2022

US Attorney General Merrick B Garland met with family members of the victims in Uvalde this week before releasing the probe’s findings to the public.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday he said, “a series of major failures, failures of leadership and tactics and communications in training and in preparedness were made by law enforcement.”

Officers waited 77 minutes before confronting and killing the 18-year-old assailant inside a classroom. Police should have immediately barged into the classrooms and eliminated the threat, the attorney general said.

Had officials followed proper protocol, “Lives would’ve been saved. People would’ve survived,” he added.

The incident became the second-deadliest school shooting in the nation’s history, behind the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six employees died.

Following the report’s release, a group of the victims’ family members spoke at a news conference. Kimberly Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter, Lexi Rubio, died in the shooting, said she hopes “the failures end today and local officials do right by the victims and survivors — terminations and criminal prosecutions.”

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