Updated Jul 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Uvalde officer missed chance to shoot gunman, report finds

The Robb Elementary School sign is covered in flowers and gifts on June 17 in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A police officer armed with a rifle watched the gunman in the Uvalde elementary school shooting walk toward the campus but did not fire while waiting for permission from a supervisor to shoot, according to a report released Wednesday.

Driving the news: Some of the 21 victims at Robb Elementary School, including 19 children, likely “could have been saved” on May 24, according to a report by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), a Texas State University training center for active shooter situations.

Yes, but: Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin on Friday disputed some of the findings from the ALERRT report, saying it doesn't give a "complete accurate" account of what happened at Robb Elementary School.

  • "No Uvalde police department officer saw the shooter on May 24 prior to him entering the school," said McLaughlin in a statement dated July 7. "A Uvalde Police Department officer saw someone outside, but was unsure of who he saw and observed children in the area as well. Ultimately, it was a coach with children on the playground, not the shooter."

McLaughlin also disputed the timeline provided by the Department of Public Safety after the Senate hearing, saying "DPS troopers were onsite and at the door of Robb Elementary School approximately 3 minutes after the shooter entered the building on May 24."

Authors of the 26-page report said their findings were based on video from police body cameras, radio logs, video taken from the school, testimony from police officers on the scene and verbal statements from investigators. Among their findings:

  • A Uvalde police officer asked for a supervisor’s permission to shoot the gunman before he entered the building, but the supervisor did not hear the request or responded too late, per the report.
  • When the officer didn't hear a response, he turned to get confirmation from his supervisor. By the time the officer turned back toward the gunman, he had already entered the building, ALERRT found.
  • Police also waited too long — one hour, 11 minutes and 26 seconds — before taking action.

The report, which was requested by the Texas Department of Public Safety, noted that the officer would have been justified in using deadly force to stop the gunman.

  • While officers were in the building early on, the situation became "static" after the gunman fired shots, the report found.
  • The report also noted that it is "unclear" why officers decided to assault the room when they did, more than an hour later.

Go deeper:

Uvalde gunman's last 90 minutes: What we know

Remembering the victims of the Texas school shooting

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin disputing elements of the report.

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