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Public safety chief: Uvalde response “abject failure”


Col. Steve McCraw testifies at a Texas Senate hearing on Tuesday. Associated Press/Photo by Sara Diggins/Austin American-Statesman

Public safety chief: Uvalde response “abject failure”

Texas Public Safety chief Col. Steve McCraw testified Tuesday that there were enough officers on the scene of the shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 to storm the school three minutes after the shooter entered. But instead, officers spent the next 40 minutes searching for a key to an unlocked room. “I have great reasons to believe it was never secured,” McCraw said in scathing testimony before state senators. “How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?” Nineteen children and two teachers died in the shooting.

Why did the police wait so long to go in? McCraw outlined a lack of communication, poor preparation, and bad decision-making. “The only thing stopping a 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,” McCraw said. A few days after the shooting, Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo said that he assumed someone else was overseeing officers’ response and he didn’t think he was in charge. The officers’ radios also did not work in the building and they had outdated plans for it.

Dig deeper: Listen to Bonnie Pritchett’s report in The World and Everything in It on pastors in Uvalde trying to help people with their grief and questions.

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