Panicked children and teachers placed half a dozen calls to 911 emergency services from the Texas classrooms where a massacre was unfolding, pleading for police to intervene, while roughly 20 officers waited in a hallway for nearly an hour before entering the room, authorities said on Friday.
At least two children called the 911 emergency number from the two connecting classrooms after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, according to Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
NBC News reports:
Police admitted to a stunning string of failures — including driving right by the gunman — in responding to the Texas school shooting while children were being massacred inside, with the head of the state’s Department of Public Safety saying the time for making excuses about the botched response was over.
The Friday news conference came after days of confusion, inconsistencies and a muddled timeline of law enforcement’s response to the rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Speaking on the delay in breaching the classroom where the shooter was, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said that “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.”
Chilling details continue to emerge about Tuesday’s mass shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
One of the young survivors told CNN that she and her classmates were watching a movie when the shooter entered her room and shot her teacher and many of her friends. According to officials, the shooter was in the school for up to an hour and had barricaded himself inside adjoining classrooms.
As all this was taking place, parents had joined dozens of law enforcement officers outside the school, desperate to know if their children were still alive.
The New York Times reports:
The gunman is believed to have entered the school through a door that had been left propped open by a teacher, according to Mr. McCraw. The gunman went on to fire more than 100 rounds. Over the next 78 minutes, more than half a dozen harrowing 911 calls were made, at least two of them from students, describing unfolding carnage inside classrooms and begging for the police to come.
As many as 19 police officers were in a hallway inside the school shortly after noon, but Mr. McCraw said they made “no effort” to breach the classroom door. Asked what he would say to parents, Mr. McCraw’s response was a mix of defiance and resignation. “What do I say to the parents?” he asked. “I don’t have anything to say to the parents, other than what happened. We are not here to defend what happened, we are here to report the facts.”
The Washington Post reports:
Police were reluctant to immediately engage with the gunman who spent an hour inside the elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., where he killed 19 children and two adults because “they could’ve been shot,” a lieutenant with the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a CNN interview.
“At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school,” Chris Olivarez said.
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said, in hindsight, “it was the wrong decision” for the onsite commander to wait for a specially trained tactical team before trying to enter the classroom https://t.co/hV7stkKslg
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) May 27, 2022