Officers Responding to Uvalde School Massacre Didn’t Attempt to Open Classroom Doors for More Than an Hour, Report Says

Texas Department of Public Safety director condemned law enforcement response on Tuesday Last month’s mass shooting in Uvalde as a “gross failure” and strongly criticized the decisions of Uvalde School District Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo.

“There is strong evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack on Robb Elementary was a serious failure and an antidote to what we have learned in the past two decades since the Columbine massacre,” Colonel Steven McCraw told the Texas Senate. Told the special committee to keep all Texans safe.

“Three minutes after the subject entered the West Building, a sufficient number of armed officers were wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject,” he continued. “The only thing preventing the dedicated officers’ hallways from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to put the officers’ lives before the lives of the children.”

The surprising comments come more than a month later Gunman with AR-15-style assault rifle At 11:33 am they broke into two adjacent classrooms and killed 19 children and two teachers. According to a timeline from the Department of Public Safety, the gunman remained inside the classrooms — even as the children inside called 911 and pleaded for help — until law enforcement eventually breached the rooms and noon. Killed him at 12:50.

What happened within those 77 minutes is unclear as Texas officials have offered conflicting narratives of the response.

McCraw’s comments Tuesday mark the first time that an officer has provided sufficient information on the shooting in weeks. He said the decision to wait contradicted active-shooter protocol to stop the suspect as soon as possible.

“The officers had weapons, the children had none. The officers had body armor, the kids had none,” McCraw said. “The post-Columbine theory is clear and compelling and clear. to stop the murder. stop dying.”

The Public Security Department’s timeline indicated that 11 officers arrived at the school within three minutes of the gunman entering classrooms, many of them with rifles. The suspect then shot and wounded several officers who approached the classrooms, and they retreated into a hallway outside the rooms. The group of officers then remained in the hallway and did not reach the door for 73 minutes.

“While they waited, the on-scene commanders waited for a radio and rifle,” McCraw said, referring to Arredondo. “Then he waited for the shields. Then they waited for the SWAT. In the end, he waited for a key that was never needed. ,

Arredondo was previously told the Tribune He did not consider himself the incident commander that day. However, at least 11:50 of the officers noticed, believing that Arredondo was leading the law enforcement response inside the school, telling others, “the chief is in charge,” of the Department of Public Safety. according to the timeline.

The officers didn’t try to break down the doors for more than an hour

Reporting from CNN, late Monday, the Texas Tribune And this Austin American-politician Previewed some DPS timelines and uncovered further flaws in the police response.

Officials initially said that the suspect had Barricading himself behind closed doorsPreventing retaliated officers from stopping him until 77 minutes later.

According to a law enforcement source close to the investigation and reporting at the Tribune and the American-Statesman, preliminary evidence suggests that none of the officers attempted to open any doors until before the gunman was taken down.

Arredondo, who has been identified by other officials at the scene as the incident commander, previously told Texas Tribune that the authorities had found the classroom doors were closed and reinforced with a steel jamb, obstructing any possible response or defence. He said that an attempt was made to find the key to open the door.

According to McCraw, the officers were not without weapons and equipment. However, at 11:40 a.m., Arredondo called the dispatch of the Uvalde Police Department by phone, when the gunman fired at the officers and requested further assistance and a radio, according to a DPS transcript.

“We just don’t have enough firepower, it’s all pistols and he has an AR-15,” Arredondo said, According to a DPS transcript,

In the first minutes of their response, an officer also said that a halligan, a firefighting device used for forced entry, was on the scene according to the timeline. However, the equipment was not brought to the school until an hour after officers arrived and was never used, the timeline said.

A security footage image obtained by the Austin American-Statesman shows at least three officers in the hallway—two of whom have rifles and one with a tactical shield—at 11:52 a.m., as the gunman enters the school. 19 minutes later.

The Tribune, citing law enforcement transcripts, said that in total, the officers had four ballistic shields inside the school, the fourth of which came off 30 minutes before the officers broke into the classrooms.

According to the US-Statesman, an official said they needed to act.

“If there are kids, we need to go there,” said the officer. Another officer replied, “Whoever is in charge will determine that.”

At the end of the standoff, Arredondo wondered aloud whether officers would consider “popping him through the window,” according to a law enforcement source. A body camera transcript showed Arredondo at 12:46 a.m. indicating to other officers that if a SWAT response team was ready, they should break down the door, an action that took place four minutes later.

Reporting comes after lack of transparency

The reporting — in three different news outlets and citing unnamed sources — highlighted Texas officials’ lack of transparency to the public in such a significant incident. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat, told CNN on Monday that the reporting underscored his questions about why police didn’t try to break down the doors as soon as possible.

“We see that there are officers with enough weapons, enough equipment to be able to break into that room,” he said. “I don’t understand why it didn’t happen, why they didn’t break up the room.

“Those answers are needed. They shouldn’t be dribbling through the media like this. We should tell law enforcement agencies what exactly went wrong. And the fact that we can’t find that information is a thing in itself.” is a joke.”

CNN has contacted both Arredondo’s attorney, George Hyde, and the Uvalde Police Department regarding the report.

Arredondo, who has not spoken publicly since the incident, will testify behind closed doors in front of the Texas House committee investigating the shooting on Tuesday, according to the committee.

The new reporting further angered the bereaved families whose questions have yet to be answered.

“I get angry,” said Jose Flores Sr., Whose 10-year-old son is Jose Flores Jr.Children were among those killed. “They let our kids down, left them there scaring them, and who knows, crying. They left them,” Flores told CNN’s “New Day” When asked about the latest revelations.

“They’re going to be trained professionals,” Flores said of the police. “I don’t understand why they stood there for so long to go back in… Standing back an entire hour, leaving them inside with that gunman, isn’t right. It’s funky, funky, funky stuff.” “

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