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[WATCH] New Details Emerge About Uvalde Police’s Inaction During Robb Elementary Massacre

[WATCH] New Details Emerge About Uvalde Police’s Inaction During Robb Elementary Massacre

Police had enough officers on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, and they would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to check it, the head of the Texas state police testified Tuesday, pronouncing the law enforcement response an “abject failure.”

Officers with rifles instead stood in a hallway for over an hour, waiting in part for more firepower and other gear, before they finally stormed the classroom and killed the gunman, putting an end to the May 24th attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead. “I don’t care if you have on flip-flops and Bermuda shorts, you go in,” Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in blistering testimony at a state Senate hearing.

UVALDE, TEXAS – MAY 26: A memorial is seen surrounding the Robb Elementary School sign following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 26, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Delays in the law enforcement response at Robb Elementary School have become the focus of federal, state, and local investigations. In just one infuriating detail, it turned out that the classroom door could not be locked from the inside, according to McCraw, who said a teacher reported before the shooting that the lock was broken. Yet there is no indication officers tried to open it during the standoff, McCraw said. He said police instead waited for a key.

McCraw placed full blame on Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief who McCraw said was in charge, saying: “The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”

“Obviously, not enough training was done in this situation, plain and simple. Because terrible decisions were made by the on-site commander,” McCraw said. He said investigators have been unable to “re-interview” Arredondo, who has said he “didn’t consider himself the person in charge” and assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response.

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Questions about the law enforcement response began days after the massacre. McCraw said three days after the shooting that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” when he chose not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, even as trapped fourth-graders inside two classrooms were desperately calling 911 for help and anguished parents outside the school begged officers to go inside. As for the amount of time that elapsed before officers entered the classroom, McCraw said: “In an active shooter environment, that’s intolerable.”

 

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