Updated May 22, 2024 - News

Uvalde families reach settlement 2 years after school shooting

A brick marker with the words "Welcome" and "Bienvenidos" to Robb Elementary School.

A memorial outside Robb Elementary in Uvalde one year after the shooting. Photo: Wu Xiaoling/Xinhua via Getty Images

Nineteen families of Robb Elementary School mass shooting victims settled their suit against the city of Uvalde and have taken legal action against the Texas Department of Public Safety and the school district two years after the tragedy.

Why it matters: The settlement is a way for the community to heal while continuing to push for accountability from the state and follows a January Department of Justice report that found lives would have been saved if not for failures by local and state police.

Driving the news: The families, represented by Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder PC and Guerra LLP, announced the settlement and lawsuit against the state yesterday, two days before the two-year mark of the May 24, 2022, shooting.

Zoom in: The city will use its insurance to pay a total of $2 million to the families, according to the firms representing them.

  • The settlement also lists commitments from the city including the implementation of a "fitness for duty" standard for Uvalde police officers, which will be coordinated with the DOJ.
  • The city also agreed to work with the families on public safety risks.
  • There are also terms for making May 24 an annual day of remembrance, establishing a permanent memorial and maintaining the cemeteries where the victims are buried.

What they're saying: Erin Rogiers, an attorney for the families, called the police response to the shooting an "absolute betrayal" on Wednesday.

  • "TXDPS had the resources, training and firepower to respond appropriately, and they ignored all of it and failed on every level. These families have not only the right but also the responsibility to demand justice, both for their own loss and to prevent other families from suffering the same fate," she said in a statement.

What's next: Ninety-two individual DPS officers are included in the suit against the state.

  • Uvalde school district employees Mandy Gutierrez and Pedro "Pete" Arredondo are also defendants. Gutierrez was the Robb Elementary principal at the time and Arredondo was the district's police chief.
  • The school board fired Arredondo in August 2022.

Between the lines: Wednesday's announcement is the latest in a timeline of reports and shake-ups in Uvalde two years later.

  • Also, on Wednesday, Joshua Gutierrez, who became the police chief for Uvalde schools after Arredondo's termination, announced his resignation.
  • Meanwhile, Tim Miller, director of the Moving Forward Foundation, tells Axios $20 million is needed to complete the construction of a new school to replace Robb. Donations accepted.

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