Posted BY: R.M | NwoReport
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday slammed the law enforcement response to last month’s mass shooting in Uvalde as an “abject failure” and harshly criticized the decisions of Uvalde school district police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo.
“There is 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,” Col. Steven McCraw told the Texas Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans.
“Three minutes after the subject entered the West building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject,” he continued. “The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.
The stunning criticisms come more than a month after a gunman with an AR-15-style assault rifle entered two adjacent classrooms at at 11:33 a.m. and killed 19 children and two teachers. The gunman remained inside the classrooms — even as children inside called 911 and pleaded for help — until law enforcement finally breached the rooms and killed him at 12:50 p.m., according to a timeline from the public safety department.
What happened within those 77 minutes has remained unclear as Texas officials offered conflicting narratives of the response.
McCraw’s comments Tuesday represent the first time an official has provided substantive information on the shooting in weeks. He said that the decisions to wait contradicted the established active-shooter protocol — to stop the suspect as quickly as possible.
“The officers had weapons, the children had none. The officers had body armor, the children had none,” McCraw said. “The post-Columbine doctrine is clear and compelling and unambiguous: stop the killing, stop the dying.”
The public safety department’s timeline indicated that 11 officers arrived at the school, several with rifles, within three minutes of the gunman entering the classrooms. The suspect then shot and injured several officers who approached the classrooms, and they retreated to a hallway outside the rooms. The group of officers then remained in the hallway and did not approach the door for another 73 minutes.
“While they waited, the on-scene commander waited for a radio and rifles,” McCraw said, referring to Arredondo. “Then he waited for shields. Then he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed.”
Arredondo had previously told the Texas Tribune he did not consider himself the incident commander that day. However, at least one of the officers is noted at 11:50 a.m. expressing the belief that Arredondo was leading law enforcement response inside the school, telling others, “The chief is in charge,” according to the public safety department’s timeline.
Despite the criticisms, McCraw expressed discomfort in calling out Arredondo individually. “I don’t like singling out a person and shifting and saying he’s solely responsible, but at the end of the day, if you assume incident command, you are responsible,” McCraw said.
In the initial days after the shooting, authorities said the suspect had barricaded himself behind locked doors, preventing outgunned responding officers from stopping him sooner.
Arredondo, who has been identified by other officials as the incident commander on the scene, had previously told the Texas Tribune that officers had found the classroom doors were locked and reinforced with a steel jamb, hindering any potential response or rescue. Efforts were made to locate a key to unlock the door, he said.
However, McCraw said video evidence showed no one ever put their hand on the door handle to check whether it was locked. Further, the doors at Robb Elementary were not able to be locked from the inside, McCraw said, calling it “ridiculous” from a security perspective.