Texas official calls police response to Uvalde shooting ‘huge failure’

© Reuters. Ricca Amaro, along with her parents, Alma and Ramon Amaro, all from San Antonio, visit the memorial to the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting early Saturday morning in Uvalde, Texas, USA, June 11, 2022. REUTERS / Lisa Krantz

By Kanishka Singh and Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – Law enforcement’s response to the Uvalde school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead was “a catastrophic failure” in which a commander put his life of the officers on top of the children, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director. Steven McCraw said Tuesday.

McCraw told lawmakers during a Texas Senate hearing about the May 24 mass shooting that the commanding officer on the spot made a “terrible decision” and the officers on the scene were untrained. complete, costly time that could have saved lives.

“There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Primary School was a crushing failure and contradicts everything we have learned,” McCraw said.

Many parents and relatives of students and staff have expressed deep anger at the police action after the gunman entered Robb Elementary and started shooting.

One delay McCraw discussed was finding the key to the classroom door where the shooting took place. He noted that the door was not locked and there was no evidence that staff members tried to see if it was secured while others searched for the key.

“There is no way … for subject to lock the door from the inside,” McCraw said.

Days after the shooting, Texas DPS said up to 19 officers waited more than an hour in the hallway outside classrooms 111 and 112 before a tactical team led by the US Border Patrol finally arrived. Can come in. McCraw reiterated that during Tuesday’s hearing.

“Officers have weapons, children don’t. Officers have armor, children don’t. Officers get training, subjects don’t. One hour, 14 minutes and eight seconds – that’s the time. the children waited, and the teachers waited, in Room 111 to be rescued,” said the DPS director.

“Three minutes after subject entered the west building, there were a sufficient number of armed officers in armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize subject,” McCraw added.

“The only thing stopping the passage of dedicated officers into Rooms 111 and 112, was the commanding officer at the scene, who decided to put the lives of the officers before the lives of the children,” the director said in a statement. hearing.

McCraw said the field commander, Uvalde Police Chief Pete Arredondo, “waited for the radio and the rifle, he waited for the shield and he waited for the SWAT. Finally, he waited for a key that was never needed. “

The Uvalde County District Attorney asked the city not to release records related to the DA’s investigation into the school shooting, Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a statement. He added that so far the DA and the Department of Public Safety have not provided the city with any information about their investigation.

Later Tuesday, Uvalde City Council will consider imposing Arredondo’s resignation, according to the agenda of their council meeting scheduled for the evening.

Earlier this month, Arredondo said he never considered himself the incident commander at the scene of the shooting, and that he did not order police to restrain trespassing on the building.

Arredondo told the Texas Tribune that he left two radios outside the school because he wanted his hands free to hold a gun. He said he called in tactical gear, a sniper rifle and a key to get inside, holding still from the doors for 40 minutes to avoid inciting gunfire.

Community members along with parents of the victims called for Arredondo’s resignation during a heated school board meeting on Monday, ABC News reported.

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