Emergency Preparedness, Emerging Issues in Security, Facility Security

Security, Law Enforcement Leaders Comment on Texas School Shooting

On May 24, an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Law enforcement, including nearby U.S. Border Patrol agents, ultimately killed the mass shooter.

The Uvalde massacre marks the deadliest U.S. school shooting since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults in December 2012. It also reportedly marks the 27th school shooting this year and happened just 10 days after the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

In the wake of this most recent tragedy at Uvalde, security and law enforcement leaders issued the following statements:

Security Industry Association (SIA) Board of Directors Chair James Rothstein

“Dear SIA Members,

As an organization dedicated to making our private and public places safer, the Security Industry Association (SIA) is devastated by the news of the violence that took place yesterday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. On behalf of SIA, I would like to extend our deepest condolences, concern, and sympathy to the families who lost loved ones and to the community as it mourns this unthinkable tragedy. SIA is committed to promoting a safe learning environment for every student, which is why in 2014 we partnered with the National Systems Contractors Association to create the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS)—a nonprofit that brings together expertise from the education, public safety and industry communities to develop and support a coordinated approach to making effective use of proven security practices specific to K-12 environments and informed decisions on security investments.

The PASS Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools are the most comprehensive information available on best practices specifically for securing K-12 school facilities, including elementary, middle, and high schools. We encourage schools to leverage these free guidelines as they work to harden their facilities, control access, and protect their students, faculty and staff. Additionally, SIA’s Guide to Resources for the Prevention and Mitigation of Active Shooter Incidents can help you prevent and prepare for attacks and survive an incident if it occurs.

Finally, we extend our appreciation to the many talented security professionals who are working diligently each day to enhance the safety and security of our schools and mitigate active shooter threats. We also challenge our industry and our nation as a whole to recommit efforts to ensure that our schools are protected and have access to the necessary security resources that are demanded today.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas

“No words can come close to comforting the families of those lost in Uvalde yesterday. We at the Department of Homeland Security are horrified by this callous act of violence. We grieve for the families and loved ones of the children and teachers lost, and with the people of the community of Uvalde. We are hopeful for the full and fast recovery of those who suffered injuries.

We are grateful for the courageous members of our Border Patrol, many of whom are part of the Uvalde and surrounding communities, who immediately responded to the scene along with local and state law enforcement. Without hesitation, they put themselves between the shooter and students to end the bloodshed and administer medical aid. Without question, their heroism yesterday saved lives. A Border Patrol Agent was injured in the crossfire yesterday, and we know the loss and trauma from this tragedy will continue to impact many other CBP families for a long time to come.

The Department will continue coordinating with federal, state, and local partners and offering our full support to the Uvalde community. As we pray for the families and loved ones and recognize the bravery of frontline law enforcement personnel, we must redouble our collective efforts to make our communities safer.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray

“Yesterday we got the news we all dread. Parents received calls that are too devastating to even fathom. And a community, really the whole nation, was shaken by another horrific mass shooting. This time—once again—at an elementary school full of young children just days away from finishing the school year.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims and to the entire community in Uvalde. I know you’re experiencing unimaginable pain and trauma. The entire FBI family feels your heartbreak and stands with you. There will certainly be more we learn about this heinous attack in the days ahead, and I know the American people—and especially the people of Uvalde—are looking for answers.

I want to acknowledge the heroism of all law enforcement who responded immediately to the scene. For our part, the FBI will continue to work around the clock with the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Uvalde Police Department; and our other state, local, and federal partners to assist in any way we can. We’re dedicating the full resources of the FBI San Antonio Field Office and a host of other FBI Divisions to helping the Texas DPS and Uvalde PD, which have the lead in the investigation.

On top of that, we’ve deployed national resources, including investigative and analytical support, evidence response and laboratory personnel, victim services professionals to assist families of the victims, and crisis management and behavioral analysis units.

We’re absolutely heartbroken about yesterday’s tragic events and committed to doing our part to support our partners in the investigation and the Uvalde community as we begin to try to move forward.”