The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday that police responded to an elementary school shooting by deciding not to enter the classroom where the shooter was because they believed the students were no longer in danger.
At a news conference outside Rob Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said the incident commander at the scene of Tuesday’s school shooting decided there was no longer an active shooter or a threat to children and thought that It has been converted into a hostage situation. With time to wait for a tactical team to arrive.
McGraw identified the incident commander as Pete Arredondo, police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated School District.
McGraw told reporters, with the benefit of the sight, “it was the wrong decision” to wait to face the shooter.
Uvalde police came under sharp criticism on Tuesday from parents and spectators at the scene of the 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos, who had entered the school through an open door and killed 19 children and two teachers.
High school dropout Ramos was at school for 40 minutes to an hour before police stormed the fourth-grade classroom where the murders took place, officials said.
McGraw said 19 police officers arrived at the scene and were in a hallway of the school, but the incident commander felt that a tactical team was needed to conduct the necessary police operations.
US Border Patrol tactical officers eventually arrived with other officers and equipment, including a ballistic shield. They entered the classroom where Ramos was located and where he was shot and killed.
McGraw said based on voices recorded on security cameras and shell shells found at the scene, Ramos fired more than 100 rounds during the incident.
The National Rifle Association inaugurated its annual convention in downtown Houston on Friday, just days after the shooting. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who was due to speak at the convention on Friday, withdrew from his presence and will travel to Uvalde instead. However, the Governor will deliver a pre-recorded video message to the convention.
Former President Donald Trump is still to speak at a three-day event of a gun rights advocacy group.
President Joe Biden is due to visit Uvalde on Sunday.
Some information for this report has been received from The Associated Press and Reuters.