A new report says that Uvalde massacre victims could have been saved with far more effort.

AUSTIN Texas aEUR" A Texas police officer with a rifle observed the gunman at Uvalde elementary school shooting, but did not fire while waiting to be allowed by a supervisor.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
06 July 2022 Wednesday 17:18
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A new report says that Uvalde massacre victims could have been saved with far more effort.

AUSTIN Texas aEUR" A Texas police officer with a rifle observed the gunman at Uvalde elementary school shooting, but did not fire while waiting to be allowed by a supervisor. This was according to Wednesday's comprehensive critique of the tactical response to the tragedy.

Robb Elementary School's 21 victims, which included 19 children, could have been saved on May 24, if they had received medical attention sooner. Police waited over an hour before entering the fourth-grade classroom. A review by Texas State University's training center for active shooter situations revealed that this was not the case.

This report is another stark example of the failure to take advantage of opportunities that could have saved lives in the worst school shooting in America since Sandy Hook Elementary School's massacre in 2012.

"A reasonable officer would have considered that this was an active situation, and devised plans to address the suspect," said the report by the university's Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program.

The 26-page report's authors stated that their conclusions were based on video from the school, the police body camera, witness testimony, and statements by investigators. Their findings include:

aEUR" It appears that no officer who was waiting in the hallway at the time of the shooting checked to make sure the classroom door was locked. Officers on the scene were also blamed by the head of Texas' state Police Agency for failing to check the doors.

aEUR None of these items were available to the victims in the classrooms.

aEUR "When officers finally entered the classroom at 12.50 p.m., aEUR", they were not better prepared to face the gunman than they had been until that time.

"Effective incident Command" (aEUR) was not established by the various law enforcement agencies that responded.

At 11:33 AM, the gunman, an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle-wielding 18-year-old, entered the building. A Uvalde police officer (who the report didn't identify) saw the gunman with a gun pointed towards the west hall entrance. According to the report, the officer sought permission from a supervisor to open fire. The supervisor either didn't hear or did not respond in time.

According to the report, the officer saw that the gunman had already entered the building when he turned his back towards him.

This report is just one of many fact-finding reviews that were launched after the worst school shooting in Texas' history. Texas legislators have also formed a committee to interview more than 20 people. This includes officers who were present on the scene for several weeks. It is not clear when their findings will be released.

This follows testimony by Col. Steven McCraw last month, who told the Texas Senate that the response of the police was an "utter failure". Chief Pete Arredondo was blamed for the "abject failure" of the police response to the shooting. He said that the Uvalde schools chief of police made "terrible choices" and prevented officers from confronting him earlier.

Arredondo tried to defend himself, telling the Texas Tribune he did not consider himself commander in command of operations and assumed that someone else was responsible for the law enforcement response. Arredondo claimed he didn’t have his campus radios or police radios, but that he did use his cellphone to call for tactical equipment, a sniper, and classroom keys.

The Wednesday report states that Arredondo and another Uvalde officer were in the school hallway discussing tactical options, including whether or not to use snipers, and how to enter the classroom windows.

The report stated that they also discussed who holds the keys, testing keys and the likelihood of the door locking. It also addressed whether teachers and children are still alive or dying.

McCraw stated that there were enough police officers and firepower at the Uvalde school massacre scene to stop the gunman within three minutes of his entry. If they had checked, they would have discovered the door to the classroom where the gunman was locked up.

A spokesperson for Uvalde's city police did not respond to inquiries for comment. A lawyer representing Arredondo was also unavailable. Arredondo, who is currently on leave with the Uvalde Consolidated International School District, resigned last week from his post as a city councilor.

Texas Governor. Greg Abbott initially praised Uvalde's police response. Abbott stated that officers responded quickly to the gunfire and ran towards the killer with "amazing courage", saving lives. Later, he claimed he was misled. Authorities gave inconsistent and inaccurate accounts of what had happened in the weeks and days following the shooting. Recriminations have erupted and there has been a rift between the local and state authorities. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, and state Senator Roland Gutierrez sent a letter to Abbott asking him to transfer administration of the victims relief fund from their local prosecutor's offices to the Texas Department of Emergency Management. They stated that they have received many complaints about District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee and "the failure to timely deliver victim’s compensation resources to those who are in greatest need."

Busbee's office did not respond to Wednesday's request for comment.

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