‘Abject Failure’: Texas Public Safety Director Blames Police For Violating Protocol During Uvalde Shooting

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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A top Texas law enforcement official is continuing to blame Uvalde police officers for failing to follow procedure during the mass shooting that left 21 dead, including 19 children.

Steven McCraw, the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, had previously told reporters that police made the “wrong decision” by not immediately breaching the classroom where shooter Salvador Ramos barricaded himself. He told a state Senate special committee Tuesday that local police violated more than two decades of law enforcement best practices when responding to the shooting.

“There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” McCraw testified. “Three minutes after the suspect entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject.”

“The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children. The officers had weapons, the children had none. The officers had body armor, the children had none. The officers had training, the subject had none,” he continued. “One hour, fourteen minutes and eight seconds. That’s how long the children waited and the teachers waited in Room 111 to be rescued.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety announced May 26 that it would investigate the police response to the shooting, although local officials were uncooperative with the state agency’s efforts. The Department of Justice announced May 29 that its Office of Community Oriented Policing would investigate the response. (RELATED: Biden ‘Won’t Prejudge’ Police Response To Texas School Massacre, Jean-Pierre Says)

McCraw added that local police also failed by waiting for keys to open the door, noting that they were “never needed.” Police Chief Pedro Arredondo previously said that none of the keys worked, hindering the ability of police to enter the classroom.

Several Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) agents ultimately killed the shooter after becoming frustrated with the failures of local police. The agents were carrying out an unrelated assignment in the area before going to the school to help.