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Police response to Uvalde shooting an “abject failure”

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The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Col. Steve McCraw, said the police response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas was an “abject failure.” McCraw made the comments during a hearing Tuesday in front of the Texas State Senate.

McCraw said police had enough manpower and firepower assembled to stop the gunman just three minutes after he entered the school.

McCraw said officers with rifles waited in the hallway for over an hour before entering the classroom where the shooter was and killing him. Previous reports said officers were waiting for keys to unlock the door. McCraw said if the officers simply tried the handle, they would have found it unlocked.

“I don’t care if you have on flip-flops and Bermuda shorts, you go in,” McCraw said during the hearing.

Ruben Ruiz was married to one of the murdered teachers, Eva Mireles. He is also a police officer with the Uvalde Independent School District. McCraw said Officer Ruiz responded to the shooting at the school and wanted to go into the classroom. Ruiz was detained, however, and his firearm taken away.  McCraw didn’t say who specifically detained Officer Ruiz.

The incident commander during the May 24 attack was Uvalde Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo. McCraw said Arredondo’s “terrible decisions” put the lives of trained officers over those of unarmed children and set the law enforcement profession back a decade.

At least six shots were fired inside the classroom while officers waited outside. 19 children and two teachers were killed.

The failure for law enforcement to act quickly in Uvalde is now the center of multiple investigations. Those investigations included around 700 interviews and found several missteps by law enforcement including:

  • Arredondo didn’t have a radio with him.
  • Police and Sheriff’s radios didn’t work in the school. Border Patrol agents on scene did have radio capabilities, but they were not working properly.
  • Some of the school blueprints police used to coordinate their response were wrong.

There were conflicting reports about law enforcement’s response to the shooting in the weeks since it happened. McCraw told lawmakers Tuesday, “Everything I’ve testified today is corroborated.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ABJECT FAILURE. TERRIBLE DECISIONS. A COMMANDER WHO FOUND EVERY REASON TO DO NOTHING.

THIS HIS HOW THE POLICE RESPONSE TO THE UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING WAS DESCRIBED TUESDAY AT A TEXAS SENATE HEARING.

COLONEL STEVE MCCRAW, THE DIRECTOR OF THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, SAID POLICE HAD ENOUGH MANPOWER AND FIREPOWER ASSEM BLED TO STOP THE GUNMAN JUST THREE MINUTES AFTER HE ENTERED THE SCHOOL.

MCCRAW SAID OFFICERS WITH RIFLES WAITED IN THE HALLWAY FOR OVER AN HOUR BEFORE ENTERING THE CLASSROOM WHERE THE SHOOTER WAS AND KILLING HIM. PREVIOUS REPORTS SAID OFFICERS WERE WAITING FOR KEYS TO UNLOCK THE DOOR. MCCRAW SAID IF THEY’D SIMPLY TRIED THE HANDLE, THEY WOULD HAVE FOUND IT UNLOCKED.

THE HUSBAND OF ONE OF THE MURDERED TEACHERS IS A POLICE OFFICER WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. MCCRAW SAID THE OFFICER RESPONDED TO THE SHOOTING AT THE SCHOOL AND WANTED TO GO INTO THE CLASSROOM, BUT HE WAS DETAINED AND HIS FIREARM TAKEN AWAY.

THE INCIDENT COMMANDER DURING THE MAY 24TH ATTACK WAS UVALDE SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE CHIEF PETE ARREDONDO. MCCRAW SAID ARREDONDO’S TERRIBLE DECISIONS PUT THE LIVES OF TRAINED OFFICERS OVER THOSE OF UNARMED CHILDREN AND SET THE LAW ENFORCEMENT PROFESSION BACK A DECADE.

AT LEAST SIX SHOTS WERE FIRED INSIDE THE CLASSROOM WHILE OFFICERS WAITED OUTSIDE. 19 CHILDREN AND TWO TEACHERS WERE KILLED.

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The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Col. Steve McCraw, said the police response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas was an “abject failure.” McCraw made the comments during a hearing Tuesday in front of the Texas State Senate.

McCraw said police had enough manpower and firepower assembled to stop the gunman just three minutes after he entered the school.

McCraw said officers with rifles waited in the hallway for over an hour before entering the classroom where the shooter was and killing him. Previous reports said officers were waiting for keys to unlock the door. McCraw said if the officers simply tried the handle, they would have found it unlocked.

“I don’t care if you have on flip-flops and Bermuda shorts, you go in,” McCraw said during the hearing.

Ruben Ruiz was married to one of the murdered teachers, Eva Mireles. He is also a police officer with the Uvalde Independent School District. McCraw said Officer Ruiz responded to the shooting at the school and wanted to go into the classroom. Ruiz was detained, however, and his firearm taken away.  McCraw didn’t say who specifically detained Officer Ruiz.

The incident commander during the May 24 attack was Uvalde Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo. McCraw said Arredondo’s “terrible decisions” put the lives of trained officers over those of unarmed children and set the law enforcement profession back a decade.

At least six shots were fired inside the classroom while officers waited outside. 19 children and two teachers were killed.

The failure for law enforcement to act quickly in Uvalde is now the center of multiple investigations. Those investigations included around 700 interviews and found several missteps by law enforcement including:

  • Arredondo didn’t have a radio with him.
  • Police and Sheriff’s radios didn’t work in the school. Border Patrol agents on scene did have radio capabilities, but they were not working properly.
  • Some of the school blueprints police used to coordinate their response were wrong.

There were conflicting reports about law enforcement’s response to the shooting in the weeks since it happened. McCraw told lawmakers Tuesday, “Everything I’ve testified today is corroborated.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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