Police failure in Uvalde mass shooting: What we know

Sources: Video footage, law enforcement officials and a former student familiar with the school layout.  Graphic: The New York Times.
Sources: Video footage, law enforcement officials and a former student familiar with the school layout. Graphic: The New York Times. Licensed by Axios

At least eight 911 calls were made from classrooms at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, between 12:03 pm — half an hour after the 18-year-old gunman entered the building Tuesday — and around 12:50 pm, when Border Patrol agents and police finally stormed in and shot him dead.

Why it matters: Local and state law enforcement in Texas are facing intense criticism for why it took so long for officers to confront and stop the Uvalde shooter inside two connected fourth-grade classrooms.

What we know:

  • The on-site commander, chief of the Uvalde school district’s police department, believed that the gunman was barricaded inside the classrooms and that children were no longer at immediate risk.
  • “It was the wrong decision, period,” Steven McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at the Friday briefing.
  • Standard law enforcement protocols call for police to confront an active school shooter without delay, rather than waiting for backup or more firepower. McCraw, whose voice choked with emotion at times, said: “We’re here to report the facts, not to defend what was done,” according to Reuters.
  • Most of the kids trapped with the gunman were 9- or 10-years-old.
  • In a minute-long call at 12:03 pm, a girl whispered that she was in Room 112 — more than 45 minutes before a Janitor’s tactical team used a Border Patrol key to open on of the locked classroom.
  • Videos showed anguished parents outside the school, urging police to storm the building during the attack, with some having to be restrained by police.

What we don’t know:

  • How many kids could have been saved, as medical experts stress that critically wounded within that gunshot victims must be evacuated to a trauma center 60 minutes — a time period emergency physicians call “the golden hour,” according to Reuters.
  • Why a more experienced commander from a bigger agency didn’t take over. Police are stationed outside the home of Uvalde School District police chief Pete Arredondo, who is said to have made the fateful decision to wait, AP reports.
  • Why officials didn’t come clean sooner.

What’s next: The delay in confronting the shooter could lead to discipline, lawsuits and even criminal charges against police, according to AP.

Go deeper: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he was “misled” on Uvalde timeline

.

Leave a Comment