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Texas Tribune reporter explains joint investigation into medical response delays during Uvalde shooting

A joint investigation between The Texas Tribune, The Washington Post and ProPublica reveals issues that caused medical delays for some of the critically wounded.

DALLAS — New and disturbing details are emerging about the troubling response to the shooting massacre that left two teachers and 19 students dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Seven months after the May 2022 tragedy, a joint investigative report published by The Texas Tribune, The Washington Post, and ProPublica is uncovering alleged flaws in the medical response that revealed care for some of the critically wounded shooting victims was significantly delayed.

“The failure of police to have an organized response, the failure of them to communicate really what was going on to medics, really made it hard for them to do their jobs,” said Zach Despart, a political reporter with The Texas Tribune.

Despart is part of the investigative team that poured over previously unreleased videos, audio and interviews into the response that day an 18-year-old active shooter stormed Robb Elementary, and the more than 70 minutes it took law enforcement to breach a classroom.

The writers reported that evidence revealed only two ambulances were near the school when the shooting ended.

“There were other ambulances nearby, but they struggled to immediately reach the scene, because so many police had responded they parked in the narrow streets. The ambulances couldn’t get through,” Despart explained.

The investigation focused on three of the critically wounded shooting victims. Neither of them were airlifted to the nearest trauma center while they were still alive.

“There were helicopters, ambulance helicopters, that were available, that wanted to respond to the scene. They could not figure out who was in charge. In some cases they were told to divert or not come directly to the scene,” Despart said.

The new findings are frustrating for some victims’ families and for some lawmakers.

“It’s a giant concern to me that we don’t have statewide elected officials calling for some real investigation into this,” said state Sen. Roland Gutierrez.

He is among those who are calling for investigative hearings and more this legislative season.

”Clearly, we’ve had system failure, communication failure, cowardice. You name it. If this isn’t institutional failure, then I don’t know what is,” Gutierrez added.

Amanda Koski, a representative for some of the families in Uvalde, said the findings in the latest investigative report is a blow to families before Christmas. She said they are shocked, but know the information needs to be shared with the public.

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