Families of Robb shooting victims fighting for Uvalde City Council to officially oppose city-funded report met with more obstacles

City Council was set to vote on potentially rejecting the controversial report. Now it’s unknown when that vote might happen after the mayor’s resignation.

UVALDE, Texas — Loved ones of those who died at Robb Elementary in 2022 were hoping to convince Uvalde City Council to formally reject a city-commissioned report on the shooting, the findings of which were revealed last month

But the sudden resignation of Mayor Cody Smith, along with no action taken at City Council’s latest meeting Tuesday night, has hindered their pursuit. 

Jesse Rizo, the uncle of Jackie Cazares, one of the 21 victims who died at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022, said rejecting the controversial report might be a greater challenge since Smith stepped down as Uvalde mayor Monday, less than five months after he was elected. 

Smith said in a city release that he was resigning effective immediately due to “unexpected medical issues.” District 1 City Councilman Everardo Zamora is serving as mayor pro-tempore until the November election. 

Rizo said he had had conversations with Smith and other City Council members in the days and weeks before he announced his resignation, requesting that the city-funded report on the shooting be discussed in public. The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting did include an item related to “the Robb Elementary School incident,” but discussion was held behind closed doors in executive session. 

The agenda stated that conversation could have included “consultation with attorney to discuss pending or contemplated litigation” as it relates to the tragedy.

“He should have added that to the agenda before he resigned so that it could at least be discussed and voted upon on,” Rizo said. “Hopefully, we can convince Mr. Zamora to add it to the agenda for the next meeting.

“The longer that you procrastinate, the longer that you wait, the more frustrated and angry you become, the more disappointed and disillusioned that you get with the lack of any type of action.”

Progress denied

It was nearly a month ago when Austin-based investigator Jesse Prado presented a report analyzing law enforcement’s response to the Robb Elementary shooting. Community members expressed outrage over the report’s conclusion that the Uvalde Police Department did not violate any protocols the day of the tragedy. 

The frustration was amplified when Prado left the room following what some have described as a deposition-style presentation of the report.

“At this point, I think we all agree that the JPPI report needs to be thrown out,” said Berlinda Arreola, step-grandmother of Robb Elementary victim Amerie Jo Garza. “I was shocked to see Mr. Prado just get up and walk out without addressing the families. I was disappointed in the report itself. Definitely not what we expected not just so much the outcome of it but the way it was presented.”

Uvalde leaders were expected to vote on whether to accept or reject the contested investigation. That didn’t happen. Instead, Smith announced his resignation a day before City Council’s latest meeting. His resignation followed Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez’s own resignation just weeks ago. 

“The families don’t have the ability to check out and resign and go home and heal,” Rizo said Tuesday night. “It’s forever going to be a void. Mr. Smith, we wish him the best, but unfortunately not everyone has that same ability.”

Families of Robb shooting victims want City Council to dismiss Prado’s report clearing city officers of wrongdoing on May 24, 2022. 

Asked when the investigation would be voted on now, Zamora told KENS 5 the following: “It’s going to be up to the lawyers.” 

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