‘It was the wrong decision’: Police admit they mistakenly ruled Texas gunman inactive as children called 911

Police wrongly thought ‘active shooter’ situation was over and waited for backup, officials admit

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 27 May 2022 21:19
Comments
Texas police admit ruling gunman inactive was ‘the wrong decision’
Leer en Español

As officers massed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, they wrongly believed the mass shooting was over and had shifted to a “barricaded subject” scenario.

As a result of this decision, they elected to wait for backup and extra equipment before charging the classroom where gunman Salvador Ramos was locked in with scores of terrified students.

The potentially fatal delay may have lead to 19 students and 2 teachers being massacred inside.

“Of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period. There’s no excuse for that,” Steven C McCraw, Director and Colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference on Friday.

As many as 19 officers were waiting in a hallway outside the classroom early on, police said, but an incident commander, the head of the school district’s police force, had determined “there was no more threat to the children.”

“In retrospect, from where I’m sitting right now, clearly there were kids in the room,” Mr McCraw said. “Clearly they’re at risk.“

Instead, police waited for tactical equipment that would help them breach the room, as well as reinforcements from an elite Border Patrol commando team called Bortac.

Mr McCraw admitted that under police training standards in Texas, officers aren’t supposed to wait for tactical backup before neutralising an active shooter, and that there were enough officers on the scene to have been able to stop the gunman.

“When it comes to an active shooter, you don’t have to wait on tactical gear,” he said,” adding, “There were plenty of officers to do what needed to be done.”

Rather, in the state, when an active shooting is declared, police are supposed to go as soon as possible and stop the shooter.

“We don’t care what agency you’re from,” Mr McCraw said. “You don’t have to have a leader on the scene. Every officer lines up, stacks up, goes and finds where those rounds are being fired at and keeps shooting.”

Police described how throughout the tense encounter between officers and Ramos, shots were fired inside the classroom, though police couldn’t say with certainty whether those bullets were aimed at officers or students.

At least two students called 911 themselves from inside the classroom, with one girl pleading, “Send the police now.” Both students survived.

Parents have been furious at the pace of the police response to the shooting. It took officers more than an hour from their initial contact to ultimately break into the classroom where Ramos was barricaded and fatally shoot him.

Video shows parents and officers clashing outside the school as the shooting unfolded.

“What are you doing – get inside the building!” one person can be heard yelling in the footage. “Go protect the kids!” another said.

“That’s f***ing crazy, bro, they’re standing all outside, there’s f***ing kids in there still, man,” another parent could be heard saying. One mother even said: “You’re scared of getting shot? I’ll go in without a vest, I will!” one mother told an officer.

Parents reported being arrested and tased as they pleaded with police to go in and save their children.

The Texas state police are investigating the police response to the shooting, and US Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas has asked the FBI to probe their tactics as well.

“The people of Uvalde, of Texas, and of the nation deserve an accurate account of what transpired,” Mr Castro wrote in a letter FBI Director Christopher Wray. “State officials have provided conflicting accounts that are at odds with those provided by witnesses.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in