Police stand by as shooter kills kids in deadliest Texas school shooting
The Texas school shooting in Uvalde was one of the worst in U.S. history. According to the Houston Chronicle, an 18-year-old high school student killed 19 students and two teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022. He used two AR platform rifles, purchased the prior week. The Uvalde shooting is the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. Police waited outside the school for 78 minutes. According to the Los Angeles Times, there is some evidence that children in need of aid may have died while police waited for backup. News on the Texas school shooting continues to emerge.
According to the Texas Tribune, Uvalde police were first notified about the gunman and the possibility of a Texas school shooting at around 11:20 am, when his grandmother called 911. He had shot her in the face at their home, then fled in her pickup truck.
According to the Washington Post, it is now clear that Salvador Ramos crashed his vehicle at the school perimeter at 11:28 am. Police received a 911 call at 11:30, reporting a crash and a man with a gun. Ramos fired his gun at people across the street, shot at the school from the parking lot, and walked outside the school for about 12 minutes before climbing over a fence and entering the school unchallenged, through an unlocked door. He then launched the worst Texas school shooting in Texas history.
Officers from the Uvalde police department and the school district police department arrived four minutes after Ramos entered the building, according to Victor Escalon Jr., regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Though as many as 19 police officers were soon on the scene, the police did not enter the classroom where the killings occurred. They retreated and took cover when the gunman shot at them, ignoring their parents pleading for them to enter.
Police officers were confronted by parents who attempted to enter the school during Texas school shooting
Video on social media shows parents confronting police officers and attempting to enter the school themselves. Multiple people in the classroom called 911, begging for help, but police on the scene concluded that “there were no kids at risk,” so they waited outside the school for over an hour while the Texas school shooting continued.
Agents from Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, stationed nearby, also arrived on the scene by 12:15. According to the Wall Street Journal, they are highly trained members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, known as Bortac. Local police refused to allow them to pursue the gunman. Ultimately, a tactical unit led by the Border Patrol agents entered and killed the gunman.
The police response has drawn significant scrutiny, as state officials have given conflicting answers on what happened. Steven C. McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, gave a detailed account of the shooting to the press. According to McCraw, seventy-eight minutes elapsed before police confronted the gunman. “It was the wrong decision. Period,” said McCraw, about waiting while the Texas school shooting happened.
Mr. McCraw’s remarks corrected comments made to the press the day before by Escalon. They also contradicted the account given by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who praised police on May 25, 2022, saying “It is a fact that because of their quick response getting on the scene, being able to respond to the gunman and eliminate the gunman, they were able to save lives.”
According to the New York Times, officers are now taught to enter immediately and neutralize any gunman. Law enforcement practices have evolved significantly since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. At that time, officers were generally trained to wait for a tactical team. Current training for active shooters always places first focus on “stop the killing,” according to Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) at Texas State University, considered the standard that first responders would use for any Texas school shooting.
A sample policy manual from the Texas Police Chiefs Association says “the first two to five responding officers should form a single team and enter the structure.” Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Lt. Chris Olivarez, quoted by the Washington Post, explained: “In any active shooter situation, the protocol is to address the threat. You go at the threat, you go at where the gunfire is at because you’re trying to stop the threat.”
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