(Photo Courtesy of Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle)
UVALDE, Texas (Fwrd Axis) — Uvalde police are admitting to a string of failures in responding to the Texas school shooting that left 21 people massacred, including 19 children, leaving many in the city and several around the country furious at authorities, wondering if lives could have been saved.
The Friday news conference comes just one day after authorities said Thursday the Texas gunman entered Robb Elementary School unobstructed, walking back claims by governor Greg Abbott and other officials made that the gunman “engaged with” an officer prior to entering the building.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said waiting to engage the gunman was the wrong decision.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that,” he said. “There were children in that classroom that were still at risk.”
McGraw said the gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m. through a door that had been propped open. He then began shooting in classrooms 111 and 112. At least 100 shots were fired “based on the audio evidence at that time,” he said.
By 12:03 p.m., there were as many as 19 officers in the hallway. However, 47 minutes went by without police engaging the gunman and only did so at 12:50 p.m. when the classroom the gunman was shooting in was breached using keys from a janitor. U.S. Border Patrol took the opportunity to shoot and kill the 18-year-old gunman.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference late Friday afternoon and said he was “livid” after he was “misled” by the reports of police response to the shooting.
“Investigators need to get to the very seconds of exactly what happened with 100-percent accuracy and explain it to the public and most importantly to the victims who have been devastated,” he said.
“There will be ongoing investigations that detail exactly who knew what when who was in charge and what strategy (was used), why was it that particular strategy was employed, why were other strategies not employed?” Abbott added.
McGraw was hounded with questions from reporters, who demanded to know what caused the time delay in breaching the classroom.
“A decision was made that this was a barricaded subject situation, there was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team with the equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject at that point,” he said. “That was the decision, that was the thought process at that particular point in time.”
The revelations have led to anger and frustration from the families of the victims and national scrutiny.
The deadly massacre has once again led to calls for gun control. However, Texas has the most pro-Second Amendment defenders in power. The NRA Convention is taking place in Houston this weekend, just three days after the Uvalde school shooting.