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Texas State Police Director Calls Uvalde Response 'Abject Failure'

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw criticizes the Uvalde police response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School during his testimony at a Texas State Senate hearing.
Texas State Police Director Calls Uvalde Response 'Abject Failure'

The head of the Texas State Police on Tuesday offered a pointed and emphatic rebuke of the police response to a shooting last month at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, calling it "an abject failure" that ran counter to decades of training, reports the New York Times.

"The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander," Mr. McCraw said. But the commander "decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children," delaying the confrontation with the gunman for more than an hour while he "waited for a key that was never needed."

Head of State Police Calls Response to Uvalde Shooting an ‘Abject Failure’ (New York Times)

Excerpt from the New York Times: In his comments before a special State Senate committee in Austin, Steven McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Safety, provided the most complete public account yet of his agency’s month-old investigation and a forceful argument that officers at the scene could have — and should have — confronted the gunman without delay after arriving. Just minutes after a gunman began shooting children on May 24, he said, the officers at the scene had enough firepower and protective equipment to storm into the classrooms.
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Police were carrying radios that would not communicate. Classroom doors had locks that could not be secured from inside. And the school district’s police chief, Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, made error after error throughout the catastrophe, McCraw said, breaking with decades of accepted law enforcement practice by not pursuing the gunman sooner, writes the Washington Post.

Armed Uvalde officers waited for key to unlocked door, official says (Washington Post)

Excerpt from the Washington Post: Since the Columbine High School attack in 1999, it has been standard practice nationwide for law enforcement officials responding to active attackers to pursue them until the threat is stopped. But McCraw said that during the Uvalde massacre, Arredondo delayed for more than an hour waiting for a radio, rifles, shields, a SWAT group and, finally, a seemingly unnecessary key — costly decisions he made as the commander on scene. In all, 77 minutes transpired between the moment the gunman entered the school and when he was killed.
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According to CNN, Don McLaughlin, mayor of Uvalde, Texas, visibly frustrated with the constantly changing information released about what happened, lashed out Tuesday, telling residents at a city council meeting he's tired of being kept in the dark about what evidence has been uncovered.

McLaughlin sharply criticized the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and its leader, Col. Steven McCraw. The Texas Rangers, a DPS agency, are leading the investigation into the shooting and McLaughlin told residents he was upset that he and other city officials have never been briefed on how the investigation is going. He went on to say he thinks McCraw is making misleading statements to help distance the actions of the state troopers and Texas Rangers who responded to the shooting, writes CNN.

Uvalde mayor slams state agency investigating school massacre, says elementary building will be demolished (CNN)

Excerpt from CNN: "Colonel McCraw has continued to, whether you want to call it ... lie, leak, mislead or mistake information in order to distance his own troopers and Rangers from the response. Every briefing he leaves out the number of his own officers and Rangers that were on scene that day," McLaughlin said. At the meeting, McLaughlin also said Robb Elementary, where the massacre occurred May 24, will be razed. "You could never ask a child to go back or a teacher to go back to that school. Ever," he said.
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