After the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Ulvade, Texas left 19 children and two adults dead in May, the surviving parents, students, and staff members have filed a $27 billion class action lawsuit against the city, school district, and numerous law enforcement agencies, even going so far as to name individual officers who responded to the incident.
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s police department, the Uvalde Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety are named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in an Austin federal court on Tuesday. The court documents detail the slow response of the officers present, who reportedly entered the building nine minutes after the gunman Salvador Ramos, but didn’t confront him until almost an hour later.
The suit states that the surviving parties, which includes those located within the perimeter of Robb Elementary at the time of the shooting and all affected parents, “will now be forced to endure the indelible and forever-lasting trauma” said to have been “immeasurably caused and amplified” by the defendants.
“Law enforcement took seventy-seven minutes to accomplish what they were duty bound to expeditiously perform,” the documents read.
The suit’s filing comes just weeks after the Ulvade Consolidated Independent School District announced that the entirety of its school police force had been indefinitely suspended in the wake of protests and ongoing investigations.
The announcement, which arrived in October, followed the decision made in August by the Ulvade school board to fire police chief Pete Arrendondo in an unanimous vote. The closed meeting where the vote was announced is said to have been filled with cheering parents and survivors overjoyed by the decision. Arredondo himself was not present, though he is named as an individual defendant in the class-action lawsuit.
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The filing also names Texas DPS Chief Steve McCraw, who has been called on to resign, though he upholds the claim that the police department adequately responded to the shooting. He still serves in his role, while other officers who were present at the time of the shooting, like Texas DPS Sgt. Juan Maldonado, have been terminated.
“Plaintiffs and Class members respectfully request that this Court does its part in providing the framework for redressing the harms that no amount of money nor forgiveness can ever absolve,” the suit reads.