The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday called the police response to the Uvalde school shooting an “abject failure,” adding that the shooter could have been apprehended within three minutes of entering Robb Elementary School as officers waited for “a key that was not needed.”
An 18-year-old male, who will not be named per Daily Wire policy, killed 19 students and two teachers at the elementary school on May 24.
“There’s compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” said Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“Three minutes after the subject entered the West building, there was sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject,” McCraw continued. “The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas police commander says officers could have stopped the gunman in Uvalde school shooting within three minutes.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 21, 2022
“One error; 14 minutes and eight seconds,” the director said of the young students waiting in a classroom for police to save them.
McCraw said officers were, in part, waiting for a “key that was not needed.”
“I have great reasons to believe it was never secured,” he testified. “How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?”
“Obviously, not enough training was done in this situation, plain and simple. Because terrible decisions were made by the on-site commander,” McCraw blasted.
The response to the tragedy has been heavily scrutinized. One mother claimed she was briefly handcuffed by U.S. Marshals before she ran into the school herself to save her two children.
“The police were doing nothing,” mother Angeli Rose Gomez accused, according to The Wall Street Journal. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
Gomez said “she was one of numerous parents waiting outside the school who began encouraging— first politely, and then with more urgency — police and other law enforcement to enter the school sooner,” the Journal report outlined. “After a few minutes, she said, U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation.”
Desperate to reach her children, the mother said she was able to convince local Uvalde officers whom she knew to get the marshals to un-cuff her.
“Once freed from her cuffs, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children,” the report detailed. “She sprinted out of the school with them.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service has denied to the Journal that any parents were put in handcuffs.
TX DPS Director Steve McCraw:
'The officers had weapons … [they] had body armor. The children had none.'
“response to the Uvalde shooting was an ‘abject failure,’ as the on-scene commander waited for things like a key ‘that was never needed.’pic.twitter.com/WT1nWR2B4i
— 🇺🇦Skyleigh Heinen🇺🇸 (@Sky_Lee_1) June 21, 2022