SAN ANTONIO — As more information continues to come to light about the May mass shooting at Robb Elementary, a local attorney is preparing to file what would be the first federal lawsuit related to the massacre.
Shawn Brown, based out of San Antonio, is representing two Robb students who survived the May 24 shooting. He says he plans to file that federal complaint in the next two weeks.
"The shooter was yelling obscene things, he played real weird music, he told them they were all going to die," Brown told KENS 5, describing the terror inside Robb Elementary as it was relayed to him through the family of his 10-year-old client.
That child was shot in the leg and is recovering.
"These poor kids went from the highest of highs – they had an awards ceremony that morning, (it was) their last days of school – and then total chaos breaks out," Brown said.
It's that chaos, along with the things that allowed it to unfold – the heavily scrutinized police response, locks that didn't work, the mental health of the 18-year-old shooter, the agonizing wait for help – that are at the center of the lawsuit expected to be filed in the coming days.
The attorney says all those things contributed to the tragedy that slowly unfolded on that day.
"What we'll be showing is negligence," Brown said. "To say that these officers were negligent is giving them the benefit of the doubt. I don't even think that term is strong enough for the lack of action and what they did."
The lawsuit will name the City of Uvalde, the school district and key officers, and possibly the door lock manufacturer.
Brown admits it's a challenging case, one in which the question of qualified immunity – which shields government officials and law enforcement personnel from being sued – is also at play. But being able to prove negligence on the part of police may open a pathway to overcoming it, depending on the facts.
"They were there to protect and serve," Brown said. "I don't know if you can find anybody in the Uvalde community – or anywhere, for that matter – to believe that those officers or the officer who was in command were protecting and serving the people of Uvalde."