Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw admitted Friday that police in Uvalde, Texas, made a fatal error in assessment during Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School while waiting outside for reinforcements, instead of charging in to confront the shooter.
“Based on the information we have, there were obviously children in this classroom who were still at risk,” McCraw said. “From today’s perspective, where I’m sitting now, it was of course not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period.”
At a press conference, McCraw revealed new details about the massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers. Local police have come under increasing criticism for their response to the active shooter situation, particularly from parents who have accused officers of “doing nothing” while the shooter was at the school.
“We are here to report facts as we now know them. Not to defend what has been done or to criticize what has been done or what actions have been taken,” McCraw said.
According to the director, video evidence shows that at 11:27 a.m. local time, a teacher opened an outside door, which police suspected the gunman had entered the building.
At 11:28 a.m., the gunman crashed his vehicle into a ditch outside the school, got out, and then began shooting at two men from a nearby funeral home who had come to investigate the accident. He met neither man.
At 11:30 a.m., the teacher emerged from the school “in a panic” and called 911 to report the car accident and a man with a gun.
At 11:31 a.m., the gunman had reached “the last row of vehicles” in the parking lot and began firing at the school building from the outside.
Previous reports that a school resource officer confronted the gunman outside the building are inaccurate, McCraw said. This officer was “not on site at the time”, but “heard the emergency call” and “immediately drove to the area”.
McCraw said the officer “drove to the back of the school to the man with a gun, who turned out to be a teacher and not a suspect. In doing so, he drove right past the suspect, who crouched behind a vehicle in which he began shooting at the school.”
At 11:33 a.m., the gunman used the open door to enter the building. McCraw said audio evidence indicated the suspect fired more than 100 rounds after entering the school.
Three officers from the Uvalde Police Department went to the same door as the suspect at 11:35 a.m. and two suffered “grazes” from the suspect while the door was closed, McCraw said. They were followed by four other officers, including a county sheriff, who responded to the scene.
Gunshots were heard intermittently during this time. At one point, the shooter broke into a classroom where he massacred the children.
As of 12:03 p.m., up to 19 officers were on site and in the school corridor, McCraw said. The suspect fired again at 12:21 p.m. and was believed to be at the classroom door.
Police walked down the hall and at 12:50 p.m. broke down the classroom door using keys they received from a janitor. At that time, they confronted and killed the suspect, the director said.
McCraw also shared new details about student 911 calls, including one that repeatedly asked the dispatcher to “please send the police now.”
McCraw said the shooter discussed school shootings in Instagram chats in the past and bought a gun in February and March this year. In September 2021, he asked his sister to help him buy a gun, but she refused.
When asked by reporters why it took nearly an hour to stop the gunman, McCraw said police mistook the situation for changing from an “active gunman to a barricaded subject.”
“The commander on the ground looked at an issue that had been barricaded and that it was time and that children were no longer at risk,” McCraw said.
Police thought it was time to get the classroom keys and wait for a tactical team with equipment to breach the door and take on the issue, McCraw said.
“The decision was made on the spot.”
https://www.theblaze.com/news/obviously-it-was-the-wrong-decision-texas-dps-chief-admits-fatal-police-error-in-uvalde ‘Obviously…it was the wrong decision’: Texas DPS chief admits fatal police error in Uvalde school shooting