Texas DPS Lieutenant Chris Olivarez said that law enforcement officers had not entered Robb Elementary School right away because they were concerned that they could be shot.
Olivarez spoke with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Thursday’s broadcast of “The Situation Room,” and Blitzer asked why officers had waited outside rather than rushing the school and engaging the active shooter at the first possible moment.
"They could've been shot. They could've been killed," Texas police lieutenant explains why law enforcement did not go into Uvalde school right away. pic.twitter.com/lfzTtAQqFg
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) May 27, 2022
Olivarez began by explaining that officers had gone into the school very quickly, but they had heard the gunfire and called for backup, opting to wait for the assistance a tactical team could provide rather than charging into the classroom where the shooter had already barricaded himself.
“Don’t current best practices, don’t they call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?” Blitzer asked.
“Correct,” Olivares agreed, but then he went on to explain why the officers at the scene had chosen to take a different approach. “The active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life, but also one thing that – of course, the American people need to understand — that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is.”
“They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots,” Olivares continued. “At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school.”
Since the shooting on Tuesday, a number of conflicting reports have come out about when police officers first engaged the gunman and whether or not they could have or should have entered the school sooner than they did.
Initial reports suggested that a school police officer had engaged the shooter before he entered the school — but DPS officials confirmed on Thursday afternoon that he had not been stopped prior to entering the school through an unlocked door.
“Texas DPS now says that there was no school police officer who encountered or engaged the mass shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. Shooter was not confronted before entry and it appears he walked into the school through an unlocked door, per DPS,” Fox News reporter Bill Melugin tweeted following a press conference with local law enforcement.