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Head of State Police Calls Response to Uvalde Shooting an ‘Abject Failure’



Head of State Police Calls Response to Uvalde Shooting an ‘Abject Failure’

The director of the Department of Public Safety said that police officers wasted time looking for a classroom door key that was “never needed.”

New York Times

By J. David Goodman

AUSTIN, Texas — The head of the Texas State Police on Tuesday offered a pointed and emphatic rebuke of the police response to a shooting last month at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, calling it “an abject failure” that ran counter to decades of training.

In his comments before a special State Senate committee in Austin, Steven McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Safety, provided the most complete public account yet of his agency’s month-old investigation and a forceful argument that officers at the scene could have — and should have — confronted the gunman without delay after arriving. Just minutes after a gunman began shooting children on May 24, he said, the officers at the scene had enough firepower and protective equipment to storm into the classrooms.

“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander,” Mr. McCraw said.

But the commander “decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children,” he said, delaying the confrontation with the gunman for more than an hour while he “waited for a key that was never needed.”

Most of the victims appear to have been shot in the gunman’s first few minutes in the classroom. But Mr. McCraw’s testimony addressed a central, and painful, question that still hung over the massacre and the delayed police response, one that investigators have attempted to answer through interviews with officers and reviews of video: Were the doors to the classrooms locked, preventing police officers from entering in time to save others?

“I don’t believe, based on the information that we have right now, that that door was ever secured,” Mr. McCraw said of the classroom door that the gunman entered. “The door was unsecured.”

Full story https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/21/us/uvalde-texas-police-mccraw.html

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