Texas police admit ruling gunman inactive was ‘the wrong decision’
Officials have admitted to critical delays in the law enforcement response to the massacre of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas, where students inside Robb Elementary School made several calls to 911 on Tuesday within the hour officers arrived and when the 18- year-old gunman was fatally shot by an officer.
Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, admitted that officers did not breach a classroom door and kill Salvador Ramos for more than an hour after initially arriving on Tuesday, falsely believing the gunman was “barricaded” and no longer an active shooter threat, despite pleas from schoolchildren inside their classrooms.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered in Houston, Texas on Friday to protest the National Rifle Association’s annual conference, where Senator Ted Cruz and former president Donald Trump addressed the gun rights lobby group to claim their political opponents are exploiting tragedy, despite supporting the politically powerful lobbyists just days after the killings.
‘It was the wrong decision’
The police official blamed for not sending officers in more quickly to stop the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting is the chief of the school system’s small police force, a unit ordinarily dedicated to building relationships with students and responding to the occasional fight.
Preparing for mass shootings is a small part of what school police officers do, but local experts say the preparation for officers assigned to schools in Texas — including mandatory active shooter training — provides them with as solid a foundation as any.“
The tactical, conceptual mindset is definitely there in Texas,” said Joe McKenna, deputy superintendent for the Comal school district in Texas and a former assistant director at the state’s school safety center.
The district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, decided officers should wait to confront the gunman on the belief he was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and children were no longer at risk, officials said Friday.
“It was the wrong decision,” Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference Friday.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 07:21
Beto O’Rourke continues his crusade for gun control at NRA convention
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke addressed hundreds of protesters in Houston outside of the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, calling for action on gun legislation after a shooting in Uvalde left 21 people dead.
“So I ask you for those of you in power and who hold office right now and were in the way and refuse to act: Please promise me you will get in their faces before another child is shot in their face,” he told protesters.
He’s been passionately speaking up since the shooting in Uvalde, including interrupting a press conference from the governor to make his case.
Graig Graziosi had the story on that one.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 06:00
How an elite Border Patrol unit helped kill the Uvalde gunman
Members of the Uvalde Police Department temporarily kept the elite team of Border Patrol commandos who ultimately killed Salvador Ramos from entering Robb Elementary School, The New York Times reports, citing unnamed government sources.
Specially trained agents with the force’s Bortac SWAT team drove from the US-Mexico border to assist responding officers in Uvalde.
They arrived between noon and 12.10pm, nearly 40 minutes before the 18-year-old gunman was killed by law enforcement.
In that time period, nine different 911 calls went out from inside the school that students were trapped and being shot.
The group was baffled why local officers told them to temporarily wait, according to the newspaper, and unsure why the Uvalde PD’s own SWAT team was not already on the scene.
More details in our reporting.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 05:30
Uvalde police trained for an active shooter. So why did they fail so badly?
Uvalde school police held active shooter training just two months before Salvador Ramos massacred 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary.
The Texas city’s Consolidated Independent School District held the training session to “prepare as best as possible” for exactly the type of situation that took place earlier this week.
The Uvalde CISD posted about the training session on Facebook on 22 March.
Graeme Massie looked into their training practices.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 05:00
First Greg Abbott praised law enforcement. Then he called them out.
The day after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sounded nearly triumphant as he praised police performance.
“The reality is, as horrible as what happened, it could have been worse. The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do,” Mr Abbott said at the time.
Now, as evidence appears that they made crucial errors and waited over an hour to move on gunman Salvador Ramos, Mr Abbott has changed his tune.
“I was misled. I am livid about what happened,” he said at a Friday press conference in Uvalde.
Catch up on the controversy here.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 04:30
‘It was the wrong decision’: Police admit they mistakenly ruled Texas gunman inactive as children called 911
As officers massed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, they wrongly believed the mass shooting was over and had shifted to a “barricaded subject” scenario.
As a result of this decision, they elected to wait for backup and extra equipment before charging the classroom where gunman Salvador Ramos was locked in with scores of terrified students.
The potentially fatal delay may have lead to 19 students and 2 teachers being massacred inside.
“Of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period. There’s no excuse for that,” Steven C McCraw, Director and Colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference on Friday.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 04:00
Uvalde police call in backup to protect…themselves
Uvalde police have faced scathing criticism that a multi-level failure led them to wait more than an hour before confronting Salvador Ramos and killing him.
It’s an ironic echo of what happened on the day of the shooting itself, where police took the highly controversial step of waiting for more backup to arrive even though nearly 20 officers were position outside the classroom where Ramos was barricaded inside with students.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 03:30
Ted Cruz claims ‘armed good guys’ stop school shooters, despite failings at Uvalde
While speaking at an NRA event on Friday, Senator Ted Cruz reiterated a common Republican talking point about gun control that only “good guys” with guns are able to stop active shooters
“What stops armed bad guys is armed good guys,” he told the crowd in Houston.
That’s even though scores of officers spent over an hour waiting to charge in and apprehend Uvalde shooter Salvador Ramos earlier in the week.
In this point, we broke down some of the biggest questions about the police response.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 03:00
As Texas mourns, Al Sharpton offers a eulogy for 10 dead in Buffalo hate attack
Barely more than a week before the Uvalde shooting, a white supremacist killed 10 people in a mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.
Reverend Al Sharpton noted the parallel on Friday at a funeral for Geraldine Chapman Talley, one of the victims of the Buffalo shooting
“Unless we start dealing with this easy access to guns, all of us are targets,” the activist said. “It seems crazy that if you went to Texas to buy a beer, you gotta prove you’re 18 years old, but you can go buy an automatic rifle. That’s how jaded we are.”
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 02:30
WATCH: Texas officials say no initial efforts made by 19 officers to break down door
Texas police are coming in for heavy criticism after it was revealed it took more than an hour for them to engage and kill Uvalde gunman Salvador Ramos, despite having large numbers of officers on scene.
In a heated exchange on Friday, CNN reporter Shimon Prokupecz grilled state officials about why the 19 officers stationed in a hallway near Ramos didn’t do more.
“You say there were 19 officers gathered in the hallway or somewhere. What efforts were made to try and break through that door? You say it was locked. What efforts were the officers making?” he asked.
“None at that time,” Steven McCraw, of the state’s public safety agency, responded.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 02:00