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Victim's family anxiously awaits DOJ report on Uvalde school shooting

Jesse Rizo, whose 9-year-old niece was killed in the shooting, speaks with Scripps News about what he hopes will come from the report.
Family member reacts to DOJ report on Uvalde school shooting
Posted at 10:14 AM, Jan 18, 2024

The Department of Justice released its report Thursday on the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

But before the report — which called the actions by law enforcement a "failure" — was made public, families of the victims met with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland the night before. 

The families said they hope the findings will lead to more accountability and transparency in a town that remains bitterly divided nearly two years after the tragedy. 

Jesse Rizo, the uncle of victim Jackie Cazares, also spoke with Scripps News before the report was made public. His family plans to hold a press conference Thursday now that it has been released.

"Every day is not the same anymore. In some ways it brought us closer, but in some ways it broke us apart," said Rizo.

Rizo said his family is shattered.

"We are happy to see each other, but we know we are missing somebody at the table," he said.

SEE MORE: DOJ calls officers' response in Uvalde school shooting a 'failure'

Rizo said the scars have not yet healed, and that his family is still trying to pick up the pieces while holding on to memories of his 9-year-old niece.

Cazares, along with 18 other children and two adults, were killed at Robb Elementary School by an 18-year-old shooter on May 24, 2022. Seventeen others were injured.

Rizo believes the DOJ report of the officers' response on that dreadful day is one step closer to accountability. 

"Hopefully from that report, we get enough information so we can put pressure on the district attorney to actually do something about this — the people who failed these children, that allowed these children to get slaughtered, that allowed the children to live through living hell — that those people be held accountable," he said.

Rizo believes the Uvalde community should be doing more to get answers.

"Anybody that was affected by this directly or indirectly, they should be lined up along Highway 90 at the location where they're giving the briefing today, and they should be protesting with signs demanding accountability," Rizo said.

He said his family's fight to bring justice for Jackie will not end.

"She will never be forgotten; she will never be forgotten. We will always continue to fight," he said.

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