May 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas police promise to "never stand down" after Uvalde

A Texas state senator told CNN on Saturday that the Texas Department of Public Safety assured him that it will never again "stand down for any law enforcement agency" in response to an active shooter situation after a gunman killed 19 kids and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde this week.

Why it matters: Steven McCraw, director of the department, said in a briefing Friday that the police commander on scene at the time of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde made "the wrong decision" by not ordering officers to confront the shooter sooner.

  • McCraw said the commander at the time, chief of the Uvalde school district's police department, believed that the gunman was barricaded inside two connected fourth-grade classrooms and that children were no longer at immediate risk.
  • At least eight 911 calls were made from students inside those classrooms at Robb Elementary School after the gunman had locked himself inside with them.
  • When the first call was made by a student at 12:03pm Tuesday, there were at least 19 police officers in a hallway outside of the classrooms, according to the timeline presented by McCraw on Friday.
  • During two other calls at 12:13pm and 12:16pm, the same student said there were at least eight to nine students alive inside the classroom she was in.
  • The gunman was inside of the school for around 80 minutes before he was killed by a Border Patrol tactical team that had breached one of the doors to the classrooms.

What they're saying: "We're all angry. Law enforcement's angry. I had a long conversation this morning on the way in with [Director] Steve McCraw, and he was crying to me and I'm crying to him," Roland Gutierrez, the state senator, told CNN.

  • "And everybody is frustrated about the failures of what happened. He's assured me I'll have a detailed report including ballistics by next week. I want to know when each agency was here," he added.
  • "Moving forward, he assured me never again will DPS stand down for any law enforcement agency. I hope that that's true."

The big picture: Local and state law enforcement officials in Texas are facing intense criticism for their response to the shooting as more details and a fuller timeline of events has been revealed.

  • McCraw also revealed that the school's hired security officer was not on campus when the shooting began outside of the school and did not confront the gunman before he entered the building, as was previously reported by Texas authorities.

Go deeper ... Police failure in Uvalde mass shooting: What we know

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