UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) — Public safety officials on Friday revealed responding officers for Tuesday’s Uvalde school shooting made no attempts to breach a classroom to rescue the children inside from an active shooter for about an hour, because it was believed the incident had turned into a barricaded subject call.
The 18-year-old shooter with a rifle killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School that day.
Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw said during the time law enforcement was waiting to breach the classroom, children pleaded on the phone with 911 at least twice to send in police.
McCraw explained at 11:31 a.m., the gunman fired shots outside the school, then entered the building at 11:33 a.m. and began firing into classrooms. McCraw said a teacher had propped open the door before the shooter came into the school, but it was supposed to be locked.
McCraw said as many as 19 law enforcement officers gathered 20 minutes later in the hallway around 11:53 a.m.
“The on-scene commander considered it a barricaded subject and that there was time, and there were no more children at risk,” McCraw said. “Obviously based upon the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were at risk, and it was in fact still an active shooter situation and not a barricaded subject.”
By 12:15 p.m., tactical team members arrived with shields, McCraw said. At 12:43 and 12:47 p.m., kids in the classroom with the shooter begged 911 to send in police.
The classroom was not breached until 12:50 p.m., McCraw said, when law enforcement used a janitor’s keys to open the adjoining classroom doors. The officers then killed the gunman, McCraw said.
McCraw agreed Friday law enforcement at the scene did not respond appropriately.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was a wrong decision, period. There’s no excuse for that. But again, I wasn’t there, but I’m just telling you from what we know, we believe there should’ve been an entry as soon as you can,” McCraw said.
Law enforcement has been criticized for providing an unclear timeline of what happened during the Tuesday shooting.
Although Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday the shooter encountered a Uvalde CISD officer as he was entering the school, Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Victor Escalon clarified Thursday the gunman did not come across a school officer before he walked “unobstructed” through a door that appeared to be unlocked.
McCraw also revealed the shooter asked his sister in Sept. 2021 if she could help him buy a gun. She refused. The shooter also engaged in a few Instagram chats where school shootings and purchasing a gun were mentioned.
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