Video After The Jump
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police had enough officers on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman 3 minutes after he entered the building & they would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to check it, the head of the Texas state police testified Tuesday, pronouncing the law enforcement response an “abject failure.”
Officers with rifles instead stood in a hallway for over an hour, waiting in part for more firepower & other gear, before they finally stormed the classroom & killed the gunman, putting an end to the May 24 attack that left 19 children & 2 teachers dead.
“I don’t care if you have on flip-flops & Bermuda shorts, you go in,” Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in blistering testimony at a state Senate hearing.
The classroom door, it turned out, could not be locked from the inside, according to McCraw, who said a teacher reported before the shooting that the lock was broken. Yet there is no indication officers tried to open it during the standoff, McCraw said. He said police instead waited for a key.
“I have great reasons to believe it was never secured,” McCraw said of the door. ”How about trying the door & seeing if it’s locked?”
McCraw lit into Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief who McCraw said was in charge, saying: “The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 & 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
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