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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Texas calls police response to Uvalde shooter a “disgusting failure”

“A reprehensible failure.” Texas officials have described the poor response of police to repeated calls for help after a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde. In the tragedy of May 24, 19 children and two teachers were killed. The actions of the security forces continue to add to the criticism, nearly a month after the incident by an 18-year-old armed with an AR-15 rifle. Steven McCraw, the director of the state’s Department of Public Safety, this Tuesday detailed the facts that drew on the accumulation of errors that gave a killer the time (about 80 minutes) and freedom to commit one of the most deadly crimes. Recent crime dastardly United States.

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McCraw has said that the police-led response, both an element of the local force and one focused on the school district, “is the opposite of what we’ve learned.” In his opinion, Pete Arredondo, the commander in charge of policing the schools, prioritized the lives of his agents over the students of Rob Elementary, an institution for children aged seven to twelve. The corporation, headed by Arredondo, was created just four years ago with the main objective of preventing incidents like Uvalde.

In Another Screenshot From The School'S Security Cameras, At Least Five Heavily Armed Police Officers, Two With Ballistic Shields And Long Guns, Stand In A Hallway.
In another screenshot from the school’s security cameras, at least five heavily armed police officers, two with ballistic shields and long guns, stand in a hallway.Robb Elementary School ( Associated Press)

According to McCraw, three minutes after Salvador Ramos entered the building at 11:33 a.m., the building west of the center already had “sufficient numbers wearing bulletproof vests and armor to isolate, distract and neutralize shooters.” armed agents”. , The first was two agents from the Uvalde Police Department and the second was from the school district police. Ramos fired shots at them, causing them to fall back and stop in the main corridor of the facility.

A few minutes later, seven other police officers arrived with Arredondo. He never walked down the aisle and he never fired at Ramos. Arredondo, who had forgotten his radio, used his cell phone to call for backup. In the first call to the command center, he incorrectly stated that the shooter was surrounded. “I need more firepower because we only have pistols and this guy has a rifle,” he said for backup. Eleven more elements arrived soon after, along with at least two rifles. No one entered the room, despite the fact that one of the action protocols adopted after the Columbine Massacre is that shooters should be attacked as quickly as possible.

In less than 30 minutes, he already had four shields capable of protecting him from bullets of the same caliber used by the 18-year-old. “The only thing that prevented these police officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the commander at the scene,” McCraw told Texas Senate lawmakers on Tuesday.

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Steven Mccraw, Director Of The State Department Of Public Safety, Uses A Map And Graph To Present The Texas Senate With A Timeline Of The June 21 Incident.
Steven McCraw, director of the State Department of Public Safety, uses a map and graph to present the Texas Senate with a timeline of the June 21 incident.Sarah Diggins (via Reuters)

Calls began to be made for emergency services inside the classrooms. Children and teachers were pleading for help while the police were already inside the school premises. One of those calls was made by teacher Eva Miralles, who said she was injured and was bleeding profusely. Her husband, Rubén Ruiz, an Uvalde police officer, was on the other side of the wall. He was one of the agents awaiting orders to act. Miralles was one of the victims of the worst school shooting on record in Texas.

Policemen waited six minutes to be able to enter classrooms, but those doors were most likely to be unlocked, McCraw acknowledged Tuesday. There is no record that any uniformed person tried to open them. Arredondo tried sets of keys on other locks. “According to the information we have now, I think the doors were not secured,” said the head of the department, who pointed out that the shooter did not have keys that would have allowed him to enter the rooms. So couldn’t put insurance,” he said.

The investigation also revealed that officers had at their disposal a Halligan bar, a device that helps firefighters open locked doors, very quickly. According to Texas TribuneWho was able to review security videos taken that Tuesday, no police officer ever tried to open any of the doors, leading to two interconnected rooms, the scene of the massacre.

At A Texas Senate Hearing Today, Mccraw Also Demonstrated How An Interior Door Latch Failed To Close Properly On The Day Of The Massacre.
At a Texas Senate hearing today, McCraw also demonstrated how an interior door latch failed to close properly on the day of the massacre.Sarah Diggins/American-Statesman ( Associated Press)

About 20 minutes after the shooting began, an agent from the Department of Public Safety arrived at the scene and said:

-“Are there still kids in the classrooms? If there are, you have to go in now.”

-“It’s unknown at the moment”, he got a reply from another agent.

– “If there are kids we have to go in,” he insisted.

– “Who is in charge will determine”, which came on the radio.

The agents’ names have not been disclosed, but a Public Security Department official, along with a large number of police officers, waited six minutes in the corridor and then came out to help retrieve other children, including a child who was hiding in the bathroom. ,

The problem is that no one knew who was in charge that afternoon. Arredondo said a few weeks ago that he was not responsible for coordinating the police response. The scene of the incident was chaotic. Local, state and federal corporations answered the call, making it a difficult operation for law enforcement agencies accustomed to verticality. The standoff gave Ramos 77 minutes to vent his murderous rage in four furious rounds. The first when he entered a few seconds after 11:33, the second at 11:40, 11:44 and 12:21.

The school district police chief, who is at the center of all the criticism, also denied that he had asked officers in the building to wait. The families of Uvalde’s victims have requested Arredondo’s resignation this Monday.

At 12:38 p.m., about 20 minutes after the set of keys arrived, an officer found a skeleton key that would open the door. This was introduced to the door of Room 111, which allowed the entry of the Border Patrol tactical team, which fired the shot that killed Ramos. The task force ended the nightmare after 77 minutes of panic. But many questions still remain to be resolved about what happened that afternoon.

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