NATIONAL NEWS

Texas top cop: Uvalde police response an ‘abject failure’

Jun 21, 2022, 10:16 AM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:54 pm

Wooden crosses are placed at a memorial dedicated to the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Eleme...

Wooden crosses are placed at a memorial dedicated to the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on June 3, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24 after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire inside the school. Wakes and funerals for the 21 victims are scheduled throughout the week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Law enforcement authorities had enough officers on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, the Texas public safety chief testified Tuesday, pronouncing the police response an “abject failure.”

Police officers with rifles instead stood and waited for over an hour while the gunman carried out the May 24 attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, testified at a state Senate hearing on the police handling of the tragedy. Delays in the law enforcement response have become the focus of federal, state and local investigations.

“Obviously, not enough training was done in this situation, plain and simple. Because terrible decisions were made by the on-site commander,” McCraw said of Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief.

Eight minutes after the shooter entered the building, an officer reported that police had a “hooligan” crowbar that they could use to break down the classroom door, McCraw said. Nineteen minutes after the gunman entered, the first ballistic shield was brought into the building by police, the witness testified.

McCraw told the Senate committee that Arredondo decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children.

The public safety chief began outlining for the committee a series of missed opportunities, communication breakdowns and other mistakes:

— Arredondo did not have a radio with him.

— Police and sheriff’s radios did not work within the school; only the radios of Border Patrol agents on the scene worked inside the school, and even they did not work perfectly.

— Some diagrams of the school that police were using to coordinate their response were wrong.

— The classroom door could not be locked from the inside.

State police initially said the gunman entered the school through an exterior door that had been propped open by a teacher, but McGraw said that the teacher had closed the door and it could only be locked from the outside.

“There’s no way for her to know the door is locked” McGraw said. “He walked straight through.”

Questions about the law enforcement response began days after the massacre. McCraw said three days after the shooting that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” when he chose not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, even as trapped fourth graders inside two classrooms were desperately calling 911 for help and anguished parents outside the school urged officers to go inside.

Arredondo later said he didn’t consider himself the person in charge and assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response. Arredondo has declined repeated requests for comment to The Associated Press.

The 18-year-old gunman used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.

In the days and weeks after the shooting, authorities gave conflicting and incorrect accounts in the days after what happened, sometimes withdrawing statements hours after making them.

“Everything I’ve testified today is corroborated,” McCraw assured lawmakers.

___

Bleiberg and Associated Press writer Jamie Stengle contributed to this report from Dallas.

___

Find more AP coverage of the Uvalde school shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE: Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday, June 20, 2...

Associated Press

2 crop dusting airplanes collided in southern Idaho, killing 1 pilot and severely injuring the other

Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday and crashed to the ground, killing one of the pilots and leaving the other with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

12 hours ago

A SkyWest Airlines jet approaches Salt Lake International Airport on Sept. 24, 2022. SkyWest announ...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Flights between St. George and Los Angeles to resume after 4-year delay

St. George-based SkyWest Airlines announced this week that daily flights between St. George Regional Airport and Los Angeles International Airport will return this fall, through United Express, one of SkyWest's different airline service partners.

18 hours ago

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victi...

Brian Carlson

Supreme Court upholds gun law intended to protect domestic violence victims

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victims of domestic violence. The law prevents people with a domestic violence restraining order from having a gun.

1 day ago

Recount observers watch ballots during a Milwaukee hand recount of Presidential votes at the Wiscon...

Ken Ritter, Associated Press

Fake elector case in Nevada dismissed over venue question, state attorney general vows appeal

A Nevada judge has dismissed a criminal indictment against six Republicans accused of submitting certificates to Congress falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the state’s 2020 presidential election.

2 days ago

The bodies of two men, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who served as director of operations for ...

Associated Press

Bodies of Air Force colonel and Utah man are recovered after their plane crashed in an Alaska lake

The bodies of two men, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who served as director of operations for the Alaskan Command, have been recovered after their small plane plunged into an Alaska lake.

2 days ago

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the ...

Jen Christensen, CNN

FDA sign-off on menthol e-cigarettes ‘flies in the face of public health,’ anti-tobacco groups say

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the first non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products to get the agency’s sign-off. The decision drew harsh criticism from pediatricians and anti-tobacco groups.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Texas top cop: Uvalde police response an ‘abject failure’