White House ‘deeply’ concerned about Uvalde police response time

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday it was “deeply disturbing” that Texas officials found police officers could have stopped the school gunman who killed 21 people in Uvalde in three minutes — instead of 74.

“The actions we have seen and the reports we have seen – this is deeply concerning,” Jean-Pierre said at her regular briefing.

“As you know, the DOJ is conducting an investigation. We will leave it to their findings and verification before saying more,” she added. “But it is deeply disturbing to hear the reports of what happened on the ground that day.”

Steve McGraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told state lawmakers Tuesday that the police response to the May 24 shooting was a “pathetic failure.”

“Three minutes after the subject entered the West Building, there were a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject,” McGraw said.

McGraw blamed Pete Arrendondo, the police chief at Uvalde School.

“The only thing stopping a corridor of dedicated officers from entering Rooms 111 and 112 was the on-site commander who decided to put the officers’ lives before the children’s lives,” McGraw said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration would not comment further until the Justice Department completed its investigation.
EPA/Sarah Silbiger/POOL

“The officers had guns, the children didn’t. The officers wore protective vests, the children did not. The officers had training, the subjects had none. One hour, 14 minutes and 8 seconds – that’s how long the kids have been waiting and the kids have been waiting in Room 111 to be rescued.”

He added: “And while they waited, the commander on site waited for a radio and arrivals. Then he waited for shields. Then he waited for SWAT. At last he waited for a key that was never used.”

McGraw said the officers had a “hooligan” crowbar within eight minutes, allowing them to break into the classroom.

Uvalde Police Chief Pete Arredondo speaks at a news conference following the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, May 24, 2022.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw blasted Police Commissioner Pete Arrendondo (left) for failing to urge officers to confront gunman Salvador Ramos.

Salvador Ramos, 18, used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle he bought legally to murder 19 children and two teachers before he was shot dead by authorities.

The police response sparked bipartisan outrage, as did subsequent flawed official reports. For example, police initially claimed that a school police officer fired shots at Ramos before he entered the school, which was later found to be false.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, a Republican, called on the federal Justice Department to investigate the police response. McLaughlin memorably called Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke a “sick son of a bitch” for interrupting a news conference about the shooting to urge gun control.

Law enforcement and other first responders gather outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.
Law enforcement at Robb Elementary School reportedly waited 74 minutes to enter the classroom where Ramos shot children.
AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, file
Law enforcement officials work during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in which a gunman killed nineteen children and two adults on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, USA.
During the May 24, 2022 mass shooting, officers open a window on a classroom outside Robb Elementary School.
Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News/Handout via REUTERS White House ‘deeply’ concerned about Uvalde police response time


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