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Pakistan Launches Military Strikes Inside Iran Earlier Today Using Killer Drones, Rockets And Other Weapons; Families Of Shooting Victims React To DOJ's Findings On Uvalde Law Enforcement Critical Failures. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired January 18, 2024 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much for being with us. You are watching ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. My colleague, Bianca Golodryga is off
Any moment now, we are going to be hearing from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Justice Department report obtained by CNN on the
shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in 2022. The report includes really scathing, really damning details about the response by
officials, by police, who could have and actually should have tried to stop the bloodshed sooner than they did.
You'll remember that it took officials, it took actually police over an hour -- about one hour and 17 minutes to stop the shooter. Twenty-one
people died in that massacre. That includes 19 children, two teachers. We are awaiting that press conference from U.S. Attorney General Merrick
Garland about that report, and we will bring it to you live as soon as it happens.
All right, now to an unusual flare-up in tensions between two neighbors who share a history of insurgencies and a long and very volatile border.
Pakistan launched military strikes inside Iran earlier today using killer drones, rockets and other weapons to hit what it said were separatist
hideouts. This retaliatory strike comes two days after Iran fired missiles inside Pakistan targeting what it said were Sunni militants, separatist
This is video from Iran's Sistan and Balochistan province where the attack took place. Pakistan says it took a lot of care, maximum care in fact, to
avoid any sort of collateral damage in these strikes.
Iranian media report that at least 10 people were killed in the strikes, including women and children. Pakistan is saying that it doesn't want to
escalate any tensions here, but its security is really its number one priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUMTAZ ZAHRA BALOCH, SPOKESPERSON, PAKISTANI MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety
and security of its people, which is sacrosanct, inviolable, and sacred. Pakistan fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the
Islamic Republic of Iran. The sole objective of today's act was in pursuit of Pakistan's own security and national interest, which is paramount and
cannot be compromised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: CNN Producer Sophia Saifi joins us live now from Islamabad. So Sophia, Pakistan and Iran have long accused each other of sort of harboring
militant groups that carry out attacks along their shared border. Clearly, there are fears of escalation here. Walk us through it.
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN Producer: Yes, Pakistan and Iran have had a very fragile relationship ever since the inception of Pakistan back in 1947. Iran, in
fact, was the first country to ever recognize Pakistan as a country. Now, it's got a long Western border with Iran, and Pakistan has said that these
strikes that took place on Thursday morning were against militant hideouts.
Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, who we just heard, also said in that same press that they were none -- none of the people,
according to Pakistan, who were killed or injured in those strikes of Pakistan were Iranian citizens. And Iran has said the same thing.
Now, it seems that because there's been a tit-for-tat situation, this is going to come to an end. However, we would just have to -- the ball is now
in Iran's court. Pakistan seems to have been caught by surprise when Iran caught -- took out those strikes deep into Pakistani territory.
There's a lot of disappointment among the Pakistani public, which over the past couple of months had been very supportive towards Iran and its support
for the Palestinian cause in the Middle East. So, this is something that's going to change Pakistan's relationship with Iran. We'd love to see how
ASHER: All right, Sophia Saifi, live for us there. Thank you so much. Okay. For the fourth time in just one week, American forces have carried
out a round of strikes on Houthis in Yemen. That's according to the Pentagon's Central Command.
This comes as Iranian-backed rebels show absolutely no sign at this point in time of slowing down their constant, continuous attacks on commercial
and military ships in the Red Sea. That's even after previous U.S. and U.K. military action. The U.S. also announcing that it is re-designating the
Houthis as a global terrorist organization in order to stop their financing.
I'm just being told that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is speaking now. Let's listen in.
(LIVE COVERAGE BEGINS)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sorry. Last night, I met with some of the survivors and the loved ones of the victims of the horrific mass
shooting at Robb Elementary School. I came here to tell them that the United States Department of Justice has finished its critical incident
In undertaking this review at the request of the then mayor, the Justice Department committed to using our expertise and independence to assess the
law enforcement response to the shooting and to provide guidance moving forward.
As I told families and survivors last night, the Department's review concluded that a series of major failures -- failures in leadership, in
tactics, in communications, in training and in preparedness, were made by law enforcement lawyers and others responding to the mass shooting at Robb
Elementary. As a result, 33 students and three of their teachers, many of whom have been shot, were trapped in a room with an active shooter for over
an hour as law enforcement officials remained outside.
I also told the families and survivors how deeply sorry I am for the losses they suffered that day and for the losses they have suffered every day
since. I told them that the priority for the Justice Department in preparing this report has been to honor the memories of those who were
taken from them. And I told the families gathered last night what I hope is clear among the hundreds of pages and thousands of details in this report.
Their loved ones deserve better.
The law enforcement response at Robb Elementary School on May 24th, 2022, and in the hours and days after, was a failure that should not have
happened. We hope to honor the victims and the survivors by working together to try to prevent anything like this from ever happening again,
here or anywhere. I'm now going to turn to the key observations and recommendations of the report.
On May 24th, 2022 at 11:33 A.M., an active shooter wearing body armor and equipped with a high-power AR-15 rifle entered Rob elementary school and
began shooting into classrooms 111 and 112 which shared a connecting door. Within minutes, 11 law enforcement officers from the Uvalde Consolidated
Independent School District and the Uvalde Police Department arrived inside the school. Hearing continued gunfire, five officers immediately advanced
toward classrooms 111 and 112.
Within seconds, shots were fired from inside the classroom, shrapnel hit two officers, and all responders retreated to cover. A single officer then
made additional attempts to approach the classrooms, but after 11:40 A.M., no more attempts to enter the rooms were made until 12:48 P.M., more than
an hour later.
As a consequence of failed leadership, training, and policies, injured and scared students and teachers remain trapped with the subject in the
classrooms waiting to be rescued. Survivors later shared that they heard officers gathered outside the classrooms while they waited.
The victims trapped in classroom 111 and 112 were waiting to be rescued at 11:44 A.M., approximately 10 minutes after officers first arrived when the
subject fired another shot inside the classrooms. They were still waiting at 11:56 A.M. when an officer on the scene told law enforcement leaders
that his wife, a teacher, was inside room 111 and 112 and had been shot.
They were still waiting as broadcasts went out on officer radios that a student trapped inside rooms 111 and had called 911 at 12:10 P.M. to say
that the officer was in -- that the student was in a room full of victims. That student stayed on the phone with 911 -- 911 for 16 minutes. The
victims were still waiting to be rescued when the subject fired four more shots inside the classrooms at 12:21 P.M., 49 minutes after officers
arrived on the scene.
And they were still waiting for another 27 minutes after that until finally, officers entered the classroom and killed the subject. As the
victims were trapped and waiting for help, many of their families were waiting outside the school, growing increasingly concerned about why law
enforcement had not taken action to rescue their loved ones.
Law enforcement officers from different agencies who had self-deployed to the scene in overwhelming numbers were themselves waiting for leadership
decisions about how to proceed. Many officers reported that they did not know who, if anyone, was in charge, what they should do, or the status of
Some officers were confused about why there was no attempt to confront the active shooter and rescue the children. Some officers believe the subject
had already been killed or that law enforcement was in the room with a shooter. Seventy five minutes after the first officers arrived on scene,
officers finally entered room 111.
The subject engaged the entry team with gunfire and the officers responded with fire. Seventy-seven minutes after the first officers arrived on the
scene and after 45 rounds had been fired by the active shooter, the shooter was killed.
The massacre at Robb Elementary shattered families throughout this community and devastated our country. Nineteen children and two teachers
were killed. An untold numbers of students, teachers and law enforcement officers were injured. The law enforcement response to the mass shooting at
Robb Elementary was a failure. As a threat posed to our country by mass shootings has grown and evolved over the past several decades, law
enforcement's response tactics have also changed.
The massacre at Columbine High School 25 years ago and the 47 minutes it took for law enforcement to enter that high school marked a major shift in
how law enforcement leaders think about responding to mass shootings. It is now widely understood by law enforcement agencies across the country that
an act of shooter incidents, time is not on the side of law enforcement.
Every second counts. And the priority of law enforcement must be to immediately enter the room and stop the shooter with whatever weapons and
tools officers have with them. That is the approach responding officers first employed when they arrived at Robb Elementary School.
But within minutes of arriving inside the school, officials on scene transitioned from treating the scene as an active shooter situation to
treating the shooter as a barricaded subject. This was the most significant failure. That failure meant that law enforcement officials prioritized the
protracted evacuation of students and teachers in other classrooms instead of immediately rescuing the victims trapped with the active shooter.
It meant that officials spent time trying to negotiate with the subject instead of entering the room and confronting him. It meant that officials
asked for and waited for additional responders and equipment instead of following generally accepted active shooter practice and moving toward the
shooters -- shooter with the resources they had. It meant waiting for a set of keys to open the classroom door, which the report concludes was likely
unlocked anyway. And it meant that the victims remained trapped with the shooter for more than an hour after the first officers arrived on scene.
There were also other failures in leadership, command and coordination. None of the law enforcement leaders at the scene established an incident
command structure to provide timely direction, control and coordination among the enormous number of responders who arrived on scene. This lack of
a command structure exacerbated by communication difficulties contributed to confusion among responders about who was in charge and how they could
These failures may also have been influenced by policy and training deficiencies at responding law enforcement agencies. Some lacked any active
shooter training at all. Some had inappropriate training at responding law enforcement agencies.
Some lacked any Active Shooter Training at all. Some had inappropriate training. Some lacked Critical Incident Response Training. And the vast
majority had never trained together with different agencies.
As Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta will discuss in further detail, the chaos and confusion that defined the law enforcement response while the
shooter remained a threat also defined the aftermath of the shooting.
For example, surviving victims, some with bullet wounds and other injuries, were put on buses without being brought to the attention of medics. Some
families were told that their family members had survived when they had not. And victims, families and community members struggled to receive
timely and accurate information about what had occurred at Rob Elementary.
The Justice Department's objective in preparing this report was threefold. First, to honor the victims, the survivors, and their loved ones. Second,
to provide a clear and independent accounting of the law enforcement response to the horrific attack that devastated this community.
And third, to provide law enforcement agencies and communities across the country with analysis and recommendations about how what happened at Uvalde
should inform efforts to prepare themselves for and respond to mass shootings.
Policing is a noble profession. It is also a hard one. It requires training and constant education about evolving threats. The report includes widely
accepted recommendations that have been adopted by law enforcement agencies across the country about how to prepare for and respond to active shooter
Before an active shooter incident occurs, law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to ensure that their leaders and all their officers are
trained to focus on rapid response. Trained that the first officers on the scene must focus on eliminating the threat and protecting the victims most
Law enforcement officers responding to an active shooter must be prepared to take charge, to establish a unified command, and to facilitate
communications, operational coordination, and allocation and delivery of resources. They must continually assess and adjust as the incident evolves.
And in the aftermath of a mass shooting, law enforcement and government agencies must provide the public with a sense of trust and confidence by
communicating openly, clearly, and compassionately during a time in which many are learning the most devastating news that any human being can
receive. The victims and survivors of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24th, 2022 deserve better.
First and foremost, the 19 children and their two teachers who were stolen from their loved ones should be here today. They never should have been
targeted by a mass shooter. We must never forget the shooter's heinous act that day. And the victims and survivors should never have been trapped with
that shooter for more than an hour as they waited for their rescue.
The families of the victims and survivors deserved more than incomplete, inaccurate and conflicting communications about the status of their loved
ones. This community deserved more than misinformation from officials during and after the attack.
Responding officers here in Uvalde who also lost loved ones and who still bear the emotional scars of that day deserve the kind of leadership and
training that would have prepared them to do the work that was required.
Our children deserve better than to grow up in a country where an 18-year- old has easy access to a weapon that belongs on the battlefield, not in a classroom. And communities across the country, and the law enforcement
officers who protect them, deserve better than to be forced to respond to one horrific mass shooting after another.
But that is the terrible reality that we face. And so it is a reality every law enforcement agency and every community across the country must be
prepared for. No community and no law enforcement agency should have to face that threat alone. That is why we came to Uvalde. And that is why we
are releasing this report.
The Justice Department remains committed to working in partnership with communities across the country and with the law enforcement agencies
working to protect those communities every day. In particular, we stand ready to help communities and agencies prepare to respond to a terrible
incident like the one that occurred here.
We have concluded the Department's review, but we know that the work of healing here in Uvalde is only beginning. We are humbled and grateful to
stand with this community as you remember and honor your loved ones.
I will now turn the podium over to Associate Attorney General, Vanita Gupta. Her leadership has been key to the Department's efforts to conduct
an independent, fair, and comprehensive review of the horrific mass shooting of May 24th and its aftermath.
I am also grateful to the entire Critical Incident Review Team and to the Department's COPS Office, under the leadership of Hugh Clements, for their
tireless work. Vanita.
VANITA GUPTA, U.S. ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you, Mr. Attorney General. It is hard to look at the truth that the law enforcement response
on May 24th was an unimaginable failure and that a lack of action by adults failed to protect children and their teachers. But we cannot look away from
what happened here. We cannot look away from these children, and we cannot look away from what happened in Uvalde.
On May 24th, 2022, this community lost 19 beloved children and two cherished teachers at Robb Elementary School. In the days and weeks
following, this community also lost a sense of faith and trust in their own neighbors and institutions as they tried to make sense of what happened on
the 24th and were unable to get the answers they needed.
During that time, the then-mayor of Uvalde called me to ask the Justice Department to conduct an independent review of what had happened and what
went wrong on May 24th and in the days that followed. Shortly after, the Justice Department began its review.
The Attorney General just gave a sense of the detailed timeline that we have laid out and the cascading failures that occurred over the course of
77 minutes between when law enforcement arrived on the scene and when they finally entered the classroom.
But we also know the pain and the failures and missteps did not end when law enforcement finally entered the classrooms and rescued the survivors.
It continued at minute 78 when it became clear that because there was no leader, there was no plan to triage the 35 victims in classrooms 111 and
112, many of whom had been shot. Victims were moved away without precautions. Without appropriate precautions, victims who had already
passed away were taken to the hospital in ambulances where children with bullet wounds were put on school buses without any medical attention.
In the commotion, one adult victim was placed on a walkway, on the ground, outside to be attended to. She died there. The reunification and
notification process for families was similarly chaotic, and as some of the families described, truly, deeply, painful.
During and after the 77 minutes, families and survivors received unclear and sometimes conflicting information about where to go to reunite with
their loved ones. Many family members waited at the school for hours without status updates, not knowing where their children were, if they were
safe or hurt, or even alive. Families searching desperately for their loved ones were sent to different places all across town -- the high school, the
civic center, the hospital.
Some of these details are gut-wrenching. Families hearing about the need for autopsy results as the first indications that their loved ones may not
have survived. At one point, hours after the shooting, an official incorrectly told families waiting for their children at the Civic Center
that an additional bus of survivors was coming.
Inaccurate and inconsistent public communications, including social media posts and press conferences, only made things worse. At 12:06 P.M., law
enforcement posted on Facebook, reassuring parents that, quote, "Students and staff are safe in the buildings," close quote. That false reassurance
was never corrected. An hour later, law enforcement inaccurately posted on social media that the shooter was in custody. That post, too, was never
Both impromptu and scheduled news conferences and media engagements contained inaccurate, incomplete, and at times conflicting information.
Mirroring the failures of the law enforcement response, state and local agencies failed to coordinate, leading to inaccurate and incomplete
information being provided to anxious family and community members and the public.
We also know the pain following a tragedy like this endures, and that the support this community needs has often been missing. And we cannot talk
about what happened at Robb Elementary School without reckoning with the fact that this tragedy took place somewhere all children should feel
supported and cared for and safe.
Our report documents missteps in school safety preparation that contributed to this tragedy, including that the campus safety plan was effectively a
template and included security measures that were not even available at Robb, that there was a culture of complacency around locked door policies
with interior and exterior doors routinely left unlocked. And that confusion over where to find a master key to unlock classroom doors
contributed to the significant delay in entering classrooms 111 and 112.
As I made clear last April when I came to Uvalde to meet with families and as we reiterated to families last night, this report not only looked
backwards, but also identifies lessons learned and recommendations for other communities to prevent something like this from happening again.
No law enforcement agency or community can assume that what happened here, or in Newtown, or in Parkland, or in Columbine, can't happen in their
community. That is our reality. This report offers 273 recommendations for law enforcement agencies and other officials in every community. That
includes a series of recommendations for law enforcement and government agencies preparing for and responding to mass shooting incidents and active
shooter incidents as they occur.
In the immediate aftermath of an active shooter incident, law enforcement leaders must continue to provide guidance and direction to all first
responders, including triage planning to ensure that emergency personnel can access victims as soon as soon as possible.
Law enforcement and government officials must provide proactive, timely, and accurate information, notifications, and give community members as much
information as appropriate at any given time to help avoid or mitigate rumors, uncertainty, and unnecessary worry. If an organization shares
incorrect information with the public, it should be open about it and correct that mistake.
In the days, weeks, and years after a devastating attack, survivors, the family members of victims, community members, law enforcement, and other
first responders, and their families should continue to be offered both immediate and ongoing trauma support. The Justice Department remains
committed to the Uvalde community.
Federal Victims of Crime Act formula funds are being used to support victim services in Uvalde, and our Office for Victims of Crime is working with the
state of Texas and the Uvalde community to complete the application for supplemental Justice Department funding that is going to enable continuing
services for victims, survivors and their families.
And through our COPS office, the department has also awarded the local school district substantial funding over the past two years through our
school violence prevention program to help this community continue to improve school safety and security.
Before we started this review, we consulted with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to build out a team of experts, including
leaders who have ably led their communities through mass violence events. I am grateful to those leaders who lent their expertise to us and to our COPS
office team for their immense dedication and commitment.
Together, the review team's work included reviewing more than 14,000 pieces of data and documentation, including policies and procedures, training
logs, body camera and closed circuit television footage, photographs, and more. They made nine visits to Uvalde for a total of 54 days in this
They conducted more than 260 interviews of individuals from more than 30 organizations and agencies, including responding law enforcement and
survivors, family members, victims, services providers and school and hospital staff.
They travelled throughout the country to review generally accepted practices and contemporary active shooter training courses. Other
organizations and news outlets have documented parts of what happened on this horrific day.
But all of this work has led to a Justice Department report that is both the most detailed and broadest in scope, looking beyond the immediate
incident to include the communications, victim services, and school safety aspects of this tragedy, as well as the post-incident response and
investigation and pre-incident planning and preparation. The public demands a lot from law enforcement, and we often take their service for granted.
Every day, police officers run towards danger to keep people safe. In Uvalde on May 24, 2022, that did not happen until far too late.
Uvalde is a community that is healing and getting clear on the facts is part of healing. So, too, are the beautiful, powerful murals all over this
city commemorating each child and teacher killed on May 24th. And so, too, is enacting change in policies and practices to help make sure these
failures do not happen again.
While it took time for the Justice Department to examine the facts and put this report together, our commitment to the Uvalde community does not end
here. Through available funding, resources, victim services, technical assistance and training, we will support Uvalde and communities across the
country in their efforts to prevent and address violence.
Just as we have looked back, we will look forward. We are committed to honoring the memories of the lives that were lost here by working to build
a future where all of our children, their loved ones, and their teachers can feel cared for, supported, and protected. I will now pass this to Hugh
Clements, the Director of our COPS office.
HUGH CLEMENTS, JR., DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES: Good morning and thank you Mr. Attorney General and Associate
Gupta. I know that nothing can take away the pain suffered by the families, the survivors, and the entire Uvalde community.
But I do know that the team at the COPS office has been driven to provide an authoritative accounting of everything that transpired at Robb
Elementary on May 24th, as well as the events leading up to it in an examination of what happened afterward.
As someone with 38 years of law enforcement experience and 12 of those as Chief of the Providence Police Department, I know the importance of having
the right policies in place, the right training, and the right partnerships, especially law enforcement partnerships with schools,
communities, and other agencies and first responders.
This report stresses the importance of those working relationships and how invaluable they are, especially when there's a critical incident. Of
course, no one ever thinks something like this is going to happen in their community until it does, which is why the recommendations we provide in
this report are so critically important.
Unfortunately, the review of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School is not the first critical incident review that the COPS office has conducted.
But having done this before, we know the value of the information provided.
ASHER: All right, it looks as though we lost the shot there. Just in terms of -- just to wrap up what the Justice Department officials were saying --
I believe we have the shot back. Let's listen in.
(LIVE COVERAGE CONTINUES)
CLEMENTS, JR.: -- California, and the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We heard from the agencies involved how valuable these reports were. And we
know from talking to agencies across the country how they have incorporated the recommendations shared into their own planning.
We have seen how vitally important preparation is, how important it is to have the right policies and procedures in place, how incredibly important
training is, and how critical it is that agencies train together. Reviews such as this can be tremendously helpful and important to both law
enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
As they work more in this report, which I know is going to be very important -- a very important resource to law enforcement agencies in the
months and the years to come. You will see in this report that the team has worked diligently in carrying out a number of critical steps, including
developing a complete incident reconstruction, reviewing thousands of relevant documents, conducting site visits, and interviewing a wide variety
As I said, we know that nothing can take away the pain that this community has endured, but we were dedicated to providing this community with a
transparent, independent and thorough review of what happened. And I believe that this report has done just that. Thank you.
UNKNOWN: Thanks. Mr. Attorney General, you just described how -- found failures by law enforcement. But the report also makes a point withholding
the names of all the most senior law enforcement officials. Does this report sufficiently hold the individual responsible for the failures?
GARLAND: So, the report is an analysis of what happened at Uvalde including by everyone at Uvalde all responding agencies. It concludes that
this was a failure of leadership, and so all members of the leadership who failed were identified. It also identifies individual officers by rank and
by what agency they're from.
But the standard practice of the Justice Department in these critical incident reviews is not to name those who are not listed as at fault, and
particularly not to name those in lower ranks who acted on the scene.
UNKNOWN: I have two questions for you, Mr. Attorney General. In the report, names - as leaders in this incident that happened at Robb
Elementary, had they acted in the way that was put out as guidelines after the Columbine shooting, would lives have been saved?
GARLAND: I think the report concludes that had law enforcement agencies followed generally accepted practices in an active shooter situation and
gone right after the shooter to stop him, lives would have been saved and people would have survived.
UNKNOWN: My second question for you, Sir. Based on this report, we know at this point, no criminal charges have been filed against anyone who
responded that day. Based on what you all found in this report, should the Uvalde County District Attorney file any criminal charges for the law
enforcement officers who responded that day?
GARLAND: I'm going to leave that question for the D.A. Just to explain for everyone, the Justice Department only has criminal jurisdiction where
federal crime has occurred. The shooter here is dead and there's no federal -- criminal jurisdiction.
What we've done is responded to the mayor's request for a -- that mayor's request for a critical incident response examination to determine the
manner in which the agencies responded and to provide recommendations for the future and that's what we've done.
UNKNOWN: Next question.
UNKNOWN: Mr. Attorney General, you identified one of the objectives of this analysis to pride law enforcement agencies with recommendations in
their nearly 300 -- which recommendations do you think law enforcement agencies should undertake immediately? What's the most urgent issue?
GARLAND: So, the most significant failure and therefore the most significant and urgent thing for law enforcement to do is Active Shooter
Training, which provides that when an active shooter is in a building or anywhere else, the first priority is to stop that shooter and to remove
people who are immediately endangered by that shooter. That requires tactical training. That's the first thing.
So, the second thing is Critical Incident Response. Establishing who's going to be the on-site commander, making clear to all other agencies that
that person will be the on-site commander. That, again, requires training and practice and response.
UNKNOWN: Should joint training be mandated across the country?
GARLAND: I'm not sure what the word mandated here means. I think it's absolutely necessary that in any circumstance where there's going to be
more than one agency responding, and that's going to be in any school situation, all the possible agencies should train together in order to
establish lines of communication, command structure, and communication structure in particular.
Here, radios were not interactive. People did not have a way to talk to each other and make sure that everybody's following the same strategy.
UNKNOWN: And you've all delivered damages?
UNKNOWN: Mr. Attorney General, some have suggested that our police response was typical from that shooting, in fact even better than in many
cases. And they used the post-nightclub event as a comparison. It took three hours to go in and put down that killer, and there were phone calls
back and forth. How do you speak to that?
GARLAND: So, actually, I'll let Hugh talk about specifically about the Pulse Nightclub, but I will say that what I've described and what the
report describes is clearly the generally accepted response to an active shooter.
This is -- we did a survey across the country and the experts who were involved in this examination are experts in exactly this subject of active
shooter and there's no doubt that the standard practice is the one I've described. I'll let Hugh answer that specific question.
CLEMENTS, JR.: I would say honestly, I don't know if that's entirely true. I will tell you this report is comprehensive, it's extensive, I urge you
all to read it. The executive summary, all hundreds of pages. I will say there was a -- epic, complete lack of leadership, unity of command. There
was no incident command set-up --that's not the case with the Pulse Nightclub. And so, in this particular one in comparison, that is not
entirely true and the response was a failure of leadership.
UNKNOWN: Okay, thank you, everyone.
UNKNOWN: Can we?
(LIVE COVERAGE ENDS)
ASHER: All right, Justice Department officials, answering questions there after they laid out their key findings from a report, from their
investigation into the aftermath of that really horrific mass shooting, that school shooting that took place about a year and a half ago, whereby
19 students, two teachers, brutally murdered. It is beyond tragic -- what happened that day.
Merrick Garland laid out a series of failures just in terms of the response, the training, The preparedness and the aftermath. I mean, some of
the sort of failures they laid out beyond incomprehensible. I want to bring in Juliette Kaya, CNN Senior National Security Analyst.
Juliette, the only thing that is more terrifying in my opinion than coming face to face with a mass shooter is being trapped in a room with a mass
shooter for over an hour and 15 minutes. Just give us your take on the Justice Department's assessment here.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I mean, there's no reading in between the lines. It was clear that -- and was
accounted for in this DOJ document and review of the utter failure that we already knew. There's no way, you know, what we've been able to discover
over the last couple of months.
But what we already knew of not simply the failure for training and communication and the radio is not working. But the belief that they had,
you know, that this was not an active shooter case and that somehow they had been able to isolate him.
That mistake, and this is where I thought Garland was really strong, cost lives. Like there's no, there's no, you know, putting a silver lining
around this. He made it clear that that delay, that absolute delay meant to not survive.
And when you think about that, because remember over the last year and a half, people have wondered, well, were all the kids killed in the first
seconds and they thought that they had detained a -- and the answer back from DOJ is without naming names, here's what we found by all of our
investigation and then also comparative analysis in other active shooter cases.
I'll be honest, I've been doing this a long time. I've never seen a document like this before, never. In its clarity of what in fact happened
and its assessment that it was a failure.
ASHER: I think, you know, obviously, it breaks all of our hearts. It continues to break my heart what happened that day. But when you think
about the response, yes, of course, there was a massive failure, which we've talked about many times on CNN, the fact that law enforcement, the
police officers, waited in the hallway for over an hour. But it's also about how the families of the victims were treated afterwards, right?
So, you had families who were told that their loved ones had survived when they hadn't. You had families who were told that, hey, listen, there's
going to be another bus of survivors on its way to the Civic Centre, just wait. And of course, no such bus came.
You had -- and this is one of the things that really shocked me when you had the Justice Department also laying out that you had kids who had
gunshot wounds being carried away on buses as opposed to being taken to the hospital.
So, yes, it's the failure just in terms of what happened during the shooting. But give your sense of what happened afterwards as well, in terms
of how the family members were treated here.
KAYYEM: Right. It's a great point, and to explain to people about what incident command means. So, when you heard Merrick Garland talk about the
failure to establish an incident command, everything flows from that. And I know this, every, anyone in my space knows this, that the incident command
is going to take care of not just the actions during the event, but all the things you talk about.
You know, you'll have someone who owns family unification, family communication. You'll have someone who's dealing with medical and medical
surge. And isn't a command is just simply a template for putting order to chaos. And it's been around long enough, multiple decades, that everyone
knows how to essentially play with it, right?
That it expands if something gets really bad, it restricts if something seems less than we originally thought. And that -- and so that original
failure to set up an incident commander who's deploying basically everything that one needs to -- know how to deploy and to set up an
incident command structure to empower others to take charge of what they need to do in an active shooter case is -- you can't regroup from that.
That's the point here. If you don't have that, if you don't have that template, that order, it's almost, you're just sort of catching up all the
things that you said. You're sort of, you're saying one thing, but reality is another. These kids are -- are hurt, but they're being put on a bus.
And if I sound energized or more energized than I am, you know, generally it is because, you know, it makes it sound bureaucratic, something like an
incident command, but it's really a refined, sophisticated process because time is of the essence in these crises and disasters.
This is what I always tell my students, right? Your runway is short. And if you don't get it right at the beginning, you can't get it right later. And
I think that's what's become abundantly clear and all the mistakes that happen after, including, I will say --
ASHER: And, Juliette, Juliette, I'm so sorry. I have to interrupt because the family members of the victims are speaking in Uvalde.
KAYYEM: Oh, good.
(LIVE COVERAGE BEGINS)
JOSHUA KOSKOFF, ATTORNEY: - is honored, maybe the wrong word, but who is representing with the gravest of concerns these families, along with my
wonderful co-counsel, Erin Rogiers. Erin, spell your name.
ERIN ROGIERS, CO-COUNSEL: R-O-G-I-E-R-S.
KOSKOFF: And so, Erin and I -- we've been asked by 17 families, 16 of whom have lost children, to investigate and evaluate potential legal action. And
in a moment, we'll turn to the families and they'll tell you what their response is to what they've learned and what they're still learning.
Understand that the report has not been made available but for about an hour or two. And it is voluminous, as you've heard. So these, most of our
reaction is really based on what we heard from the attorney general and his team last night.
And so, I want to talk about three things. The first thing I want to say is that the families appreciate the attorney general's commitment to seeing
this investigation through. For families in this situation, transparency and comfort and knowing that your government or your state is listening to
you and are concerned about what you and your families went through, is critically important. They haven't gotten that, a lot of that from the
state of Texas.
So, for them, that is very much appreciated. And it was clear not just that the DOJ has taken this investigation very seriously, but that the Attorney
General himself, I think you saw it, has expressed great empathy, and that's also very appreciated by the families.
There are limitations, though. These families -- these families didn't need a 400 or 500 page government report to learn that law enforcement failed
them in a historic way. They didn't need the report to tell them that law enforcement violated its most sacred responsibility, and that is to protect
our children in a time of great need.
They didn't need that. Why didn't they need that? Because they were there. Some had AR-15s pointed at them as they desperately tried to help when law
They were there as their children were being killed while law enforcement was paralyzed -- paralyzed. They were there. So, they did not need to learn
that. But the details of the investigation will come out for whatever value they provide.
It's important to understand what is, go back and let's just refresh our recollection about what happened that day. Within minutes, really, hundreds
of heavily armed law enforcement officers were there from all different agencies. The DEA was there. The Border Patrol was there. The Uvalde police
were there. The school police were there. The county police were there. Texas marshals were there.
It was a convergence of heavily armed and mostly very well-trained law enforcement agents. And you would think that they were fighting to protect
a major army from invading us on our borders as we would like our law enforcement to protect us.
But who was on the other side of this epic battle? What were they afraid of? Were they afraid of an 18-year-old kid ? This 18-year-old, let's
remember, was about 5'5 or 5'6. He was 140 pounds soaking wet. Were they really afraid of this kid? No. They were afraid of his weapon. And it turns
out that even some of these well-trained officers are human beings.
And guess what? We've learned from this event, from Parkland and other events where law enforcement got cold feet, these people were scared. They
were scared because they're human beings and they were scared of getting killed. And they waited around while somebody else was going to be brave
enough to intervene.
The questions that are not answered in this report are more significantly more important than the questions that are. This 18-year-old kid was able
to walk into a store down the street and acquire a military weapon, a Daniel Defense AR-15. And within about a week, he acquired another one.
The day he turned 18, he had made his decision long in advance. In fact, he had ordered 30 -- or sorry about that -- 60 - 30 round magazines, and they
were delivered to his home. How did that happen? Where's the government investigation on how this kid got this firepower? The other thing that
happened is he ordered over 1700 rounds of ammunition from an online ammo dealer.
How could that happen? How could that happen? Where's the investigation into that? How did this 18-year-old kid even know enough to know how to
equip himself in this way? What happened? What are the means by which gun companies are marketing these weapons to our children? How are they
reaching them? Where's the role of marketing and the gun companies in this report?
There's no fault or investigation whatsoever. The truth is you can respond to an active shooting but let's not delude ourselves. You might be able to
save a few lives, but we can't accept that's the best we can do.
Over 12 years ago, or about 12 years ago, almost 12 years ago, after the Sandy Hook shooting, shattered families went to the United States Senate
and they begged. They pleaded. They said to our elected officials, it's too late for us. Our children were just killed by a kid, a troubled kid under
21, who used an AR-15 to kill our children. They said help us.
You can't help us, but you can help us by helping others. You can help us by helping. And Congress turned their back on the Sandy Hook families. And
Congress turned their back on the Sandy Hook families. And because of that -- and by the way, the Sandy Hook families weren't the only families to
plead, to beg, to say, let's protect our children.
There were other families. Every mass shooting that occurs, almost. There are families pleading with the government to do something. Parkland
families said the same thing. They said, okay, how about now? How about now? Let's limit the access to these weapons to children, to kids 18, 19,
20 years old. And Congress thumbed their nose at these Parkland families.
And Merrick -- the Attorney General's here, he's done a -- nobody can fault the Attorney General for his commitment to this or his concern for these
families. It's very moving, and his entire office, and I applaud them in this effort. But the Attorney General wouldn't be here, none of his team
would be here, I wouldn't be standing here.
Most importantly, these wonderful families wouldn't be here, standing here pleading, talking about what happened that day. You wouldn't be here. But
if Congress had just listened, if the Senate just listened to the Sandy Hook families, if they had just listened to Parkland, you know who would be
Eva Morelos, Irma Garcia, Uzaya Garcia, Xavier Lopez, Amary Joe Garza, Jose Flores Jr., Aletha Ramirez, Annabel Guadalupe Rodriguez, Eleana Torres,
Eleana Garcia, Rogelio Torres, Jacqueline Casaras, Jailer Nicole -- sorry - - Salvera. Jace Luevonos, Lexi Rubio, Tess Mata, Makena Elrod, Neve Bravo, Leila Salazar, Maite Rodriguez, and Miranda Mathis. Think about that.
This shooting doesn't happen if our government had just listened to these families or if -- and not just our government but if the state of Texas had
just even done the paltry thing of making it -- even raging the -- raising the age to 21, they would all be alive and isn't that such a small price to
Yeah. We're going to turn it over now -- sorry? Yeah, yeah, we're going to turn it over now to our wonderful families who would like to speak and
express themselves, and I'll introduce Kimberly Rubio.
UNKNOWN: Folks, a few families will speak, and then we'll do questions at the end, okay?
KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM: Reading this report this morning, I read that Pete directed officers intending to gain entry into
the classroom to stop, that no leader effectively questioned the decision and lack of urgency of UCISDPD Chief Arredondo and UPD Acting Chief Mariano
Pargas toward entering classrooms 111 and 112, and that leadership can arise regardless of rank and title.
I hope that the failures end today and the local officials do what wasn't done that day. Do right by the victims and survivors of Robb Elementary --
terminations, criminal prosecutions. And our state and federal government enact sensible gun laws because Robb Elementary began the day an 18-year
old wasn't allowed to purchase an AR 15.
UNKNOWN: Most importantly, from what we've seen with this report, you know, I commend the DOJ on doing this, is that although there isn't every
name of the officers that were there so that we can hold them accountable because we have to do our own digging most of the time, there are names
that are named.
And it is time, because our community is so divided because of this, because they don't want to believe that the people that they grew up with
failed our children and they stand against us, I'm hoping that they read this. And they see Johnny Phil's name or Mariano Pargas is who is a County
Commissioner right now or Constable Zamora who is running for re-election.
There are names in there and the community needs to see this and y'all need because the DOJ stamp is on there. Maybe y'all will start taking us
seriously now instead of telling us to move on, telling us to sweep it under the rug and not doing a damn thing about it. We need our community.
This is -- it's hard enough waking up every day and continuing to walk out on these streets and walk to an H.E.B. or drive to an H.E.B. and see a cop
that you know was standing there while our babies were murdered and bleeding out. It's hard enough that.
(LIVE COVERAGE CONTINUES)