AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Law enforcement had enough officers at the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to stop the shooter three minutes after he entered the building, the Texas chief of public safety testified Tuesday, explaining the police response as “abject failure”. .”
Instead, police officers with guns stood and waited in a school corridor for nearly an hour while the gunman carried out the May 24 attack that killed 19 children and two teachers.
Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, testified at a state Senate hearing on police handling of the tragedy. Delays in law enforcement responses have become the focus of federal, state, and local investigations.
Eight minutes after the shooter entered the building, an officer reported that police had a “hooligan” crowbar they could use to force open the classroom door, McGraw said. Nineteen minutes after the gunman entered, the first ballistic shield was brought into the building by police, the witness testified.
McCraw told the Senate committee that Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde School District Police Chief, decided to put the officers’ lives ahead of the children’s lives.
The head of public safety began to outline to the committee a series of missed opportunities, communication glitches, and other failures.
“It was reported that he did not have a radio with him. That’s right. He didn’t,” McCraw said of Arredondo.
McCraw also said the classroom door could not be locked from the inside.
In addition, McCraw said that the police and sheriff’s radios at the school were not working. Only the on-site border guards’ radios worked at the school, and even they didn’t work perfectly.
Questions about law enforcement’s response began days after the massacre. McCraw said three days after the shooting that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” when he decided not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, despite trapped fourth-graders in two classrooms frantically calling 911 for help and worried parents outside of school officials urged to go inside.
Arredondo later said he did not consider himself responsible and assumed someone else took control of the law enforcement response. Arredondo has declined repeated requests for comment to The Associated Press.
The 18-year-old gunman used an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.
https://www.cbs17.com/news/national-news/uvalde-police-response-an-abject-failure-states-top-cop-says/ The Uvalde police are responding with a “pathetic failure,” says the state’s top police officer