The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program at Texas State University released a tactical assessment of the police response to May’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The authors of Wednesday’s report said their findings were based off video taken from the school, police body cameras, testimony from officers on the scene and statements from investigators. The assessment uncovered several critiques of the police response, most notably that a police officer watched the gunman walk toward the school but did not fire at him.
“The officer, armed with a rifle, asked his supervisor for permission to shoot the suspect. However, the supervisor either did not hear or responded too late,” the authors of the report wrote. “The officer turned to get confirmation from his supervisor and when he turned back to address the suspect, he had entered the west hallway unabated.”
Other findings in the report include:
- It appeared that no officer waiting in the hallway during the shooting ever tested to see if the door to the classroom was locked.
- When officers finally entered the classroom, they were no better equipped to confront the gunman than they had been up to that point.
- “Effective incident command” never appears to have been established among the multiple law enforcement agencies that responded to the shooting.
“While we do not have definitive information at this point, it is possible that some of the people who died during this event could have been saved if they had received more rapid medical care,” the assessment’s authors wrote. “Ultimately it is unclear why the officers decided to assault the room at 12:50:03. There was no apparent change in driving force or response capability at this point.”
Wednesday’s tactical assessment was the latest blow to Uvalde police, whose response has been sharply criticized since the days following the shooting. The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety called the response an “abject failure,” saying Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) Police Chief Pete Arredondo made the “wrong decision” when assessing the shooting situation.
Last week, Arredondo resigned from his newly-won seat on the Uvalde city council. He called his resignation “the best decision for Uvalde.”