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Texas top cop: Uvalde police response an 'abject failure'

Texas top cop: Uvalde police response an 'abject failure'

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police had sufficient officers on the scene of the Uvalde educational organization massacre to have stopped the gunman trio minutes following he entered the building, with every one other accompanied by they would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to inspect it, the head of the condition police testified Tuesday, pronouncing the rules and regulations enforcement response an "abject failure."

Officers accompanied by rifles while an alternative stood inside a hallway for over an hour, waiting inside small portion for additional firepower with every one other accompanied by other gear, earlier to they eventually stormed the classroom with every one other accompanied by killed the gunman, putting an extremity to the May 24 assault that left-hand 19 children with every one other accompanied by set of two teachers dead.

"I don't protected from danger keeping if you have on flip-flops with every one other accompanied by Bermuda shorts, you go in," Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said inside blistering testimony at a condition Senate hearing.

The classroom door, it turned out, could not exist locked from the inside, according to McCraw, who said a teacher reported earlier to the shooting that the lock was broken. Yet there is no indeed sign officers tried to not shut it throughout the standoff, McCraw said. He said police while an alternative waited around for a key.

"I have great reasons to exist convinced by it was never secured," McCraw said of the door. "How concerning trying the door with every one other accompanied by seeing if it's locked?"

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Delays inside the rules and regulations enforcement response have become the focus of federal, condition with every one other accompanied by local investigations.

McCraw lit into Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde educational organization neighbourhood police leader who was inside charge, saying: "The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 with every one other accompanied by 112 was the on-scene leader who decided to place the lives of officers earlier to the lives of children."

"Obviously, not sufficient training was done inside this situation, plain with every one other accompanied by simple. Because dreadful decisions were made by the on-site commander," McCraw said. He said investigators have been unable to "re-interview" Arredondo.

The condition safety leader presented a timeline that said trio officers accompanied by set of two rifles entered the building less than trio minutes following the gunman, an 18-year-old accompanied by an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. Several additional officers entered minutes following that.

The decision by police to clasp spine went opposed to a a large amount of of what rules and regulations enforcement has learned inside the set of two decades since the Columbine High School shooting inside Colorado inside which 13 people were killed inside 1999, McCraw said

"You don't remain for a SWAT team. You have one officer, that's enough," he said. He too said officers did not need to remain for shields to enter the classroom. The earliest shield arrived less than 20 minutes following the shooter entered, according to McCraw.

Also, eight minutes following the shooter entered, an officer reported that police had a "hooligan" crowbar that they could use to shatter down the classroom door, McCraw said.

The condition safety leader outlined for the committee a series of other missed opportunities, communication breakdowns with every one other accompanied by errors based on an investigation that has included violently 700 interviews, among them:

— Arredondo did not have a radio accompanied by him.

— Police with every one other accompanied by sheriff's radios did not labour within the school; only the radios of Border Patrol agents on the scene worked inside the school, with every one other accompanied by flat they did not labour perfectly.

— Some diagrams of the educational organization that police were using to coordinate their response were wrong.

State police at first said the gunman entered the educational organization into and not here of an exterior door that had been propped not shut by a teacher. However, McCraw said that the teacher had closed the door, nevertheless unbeknownst to her, it could exist locked only from the outside. The gunman "walked unswerving through," McCraw said.

Texas Sen. Paul Bettencourt said the entire premise of lockdown with every one other accompanied by shooter training is worthless if educational organization doors can't exist locked. "We have a the arts where were believe we've trained an entire educational organization for lockdown .... nevertheless we place up a condition to failure," he said.

Bettencourt challenged Arredondo to testify inside condition with every one other accompanied by said he should have removed himself from the position of employment immediately. He angrily pointed not here that shots were heard while police waited inside the hallway.

"There are at least sextet shots fired throughout this time," he said. "Why is this human being shooting? He's killing somebody. Yet this event leader finds every one source to do nothing."

Questions concerning the rules and regulations enforcement response began days following the massacre. McCraw said trio days following the shooting that Arredondo made "the incorrect decision" when he chose not to tempest the classroom for additional than 70 minutes, flat while trapped fourth graders inside set of two classrooms were inside desperation calling 911 for assist with every one other accompanied by anguished parents external outside the educational organization begged officers to go inside.

Arredondo subsequent said he didn't believe concerning himself the human being inside ask in remittance with every one other accompanied by assumed someone else had taken jurisdiction of the rules and regulations enforcement response. He declined repeated requests for remark from The Associated Press.

As for the amount of hour dated that elapsed earlier to officers entered the classroom, McCraw said: "In an operative shooter environment, that's intolerable."

"This place our career spine a decade. That's what it did," he said of the police response inside Uvalde.

Police haven't found anything that would exist a scarlet banner inside the shooter's educational organization disciplinary files nevertheless learned into and not here of interviews that he engaged inside creature cruelty. "He walked around accompanied by a bag of deceased cats," McCraw said.

In the days with every one other accompanied by weeks following the shooting, authorities gave conflicting with every one other accompanied by incorrect accounts of what happened, occasionally withdrawing statements hours following making them. But McCraw assured lawmakers: "Everything I've testified today is corroborated."

McCraw said if he could build fair one recommendation, it would exist for additional training. He too said a "go-bag" should exist place inside every one condition patrol automobile inside Texas, including a shield with every one other accompanied by door-breaching tools.

"I want every one trooper to know how to breach with every one other accompanied by have the tools to do it," he said.

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Bleiberg with every one other accompanied by Associated Press author Jamie Stengle contributed to this report from Dallas.

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Find additional AP coverage of the Uvalde educational organization shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting

Texas top cop: Uvalde police response an 'abject failure'

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