Two years before the Robb Primary School massacre, which killed 19 fourth-graders and their two teachers, Uvalde Police boasted online that they had their own SWAT team.
The department posted a picture of nine heavily armed officers on Facebook with the caption “Meet Our SWAT Team.”
The unit made visits throughout the community that day “to become familiar with the layouts of our local schools and businesses,” according to the February 2020 post.
But when terror swept through the tiny Texas town, it’s not clear if the tactical unit, seemingly trained for such a moment, responded, a law enforcement source said.
“There were so many officers, so many agencies involved,” the source said.
The state Department of Public Safety, which is investigating the response to the shooting, is still trying to determine which agencies were at the scene and the role each played. In Texas, it is not uncommon for multiple law enforcement officers from different agencies to respond to an incident together.
“When you have that many agencies in an active situation, you have officers inside, those officers are responsible for containing the threat,” the source said. “And you have officers outside delimiting the perimeter.”
The latest on the Texas shooting
Parents of students at the school complained that police officers outside prevented them from entering the building during the incident. A distraught mother was even handcuffed as she begged police to enter the building to extract 18-year-old Salvator Ramos.
The first responders, mistakenly believing the situation had transitioned from an “active shooter” to a “barricaded” scenario, waited more than an hour after the shooting began before entering the classroom and firing at the shooter.
The source said Uvalde police were part of the makeshift group that stormed the classroom with a hero US Customs and Border Protection agent. Some members of Uvalde’s SWAT team may have been with them, but investigators are still putting the pieces together.
The residents of Uvalde also ask questions.
“Maybe I’m wrong but I haven’t seen or heard our Uvalde PD at all?” Resident Norma Hidalgo posted on Facebook early Saturday noting that she has been spoken about but no one from the department has spoken out to the public . “I really hope that our Uvalde Police Department will come out and just talk to us. To all. Help our community heal.”
On Friday afternoon, Hidalgo shared the department’s February 2020 post, asking, “We have a SWAT team?”
Uvalde, a city of about 16,000, is spending $4.4 million, or 38% of its $11.5 million budget for 2021-2022, on its 40-strong police force.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/28/unclear-if-uvalde-swat-team-responded-to-texas-school-shooting/ Did Uvalde’s SWAT team respond to the Texas shooting?