An unflattering picture of the police response to the Uvalde, Texas shooting is forming as details of the tragedy continue to emerge.
The police said Friday that children made desperate 911 calls as the horror unfolded and that cops made the “wrong decision” by waiting to take down the killer, the New York Post reported.
Police admit to grave mistakes in Texas shooting response
That delay left agitated parents pleading with officers outside of the school to take action. The chaotic scene, captured on video, shows the screaming parents being corralled and pinned down by the officers, one of whom brandishes a taser.
Those parents do not appear to have known that there were cops already inside the school who were waiting for the go-ahead to confront the shooter.
Three officers were on the scene within two minutes — not the four minutes police said previously — of the shooting, and two received graze wounds as they engaged the suspect, Col. Steven McCraw, Director Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday. Within 15 minutes, there were 19 cops in the hallway.
But officers hesitated to breach the classrooms where the suspect, who shot 19 children and two teachers dead, barricaded himself because on-scene commander Pete Arredondo believed that the active shooter situation had ceased after an initial spurt of heavy gunfire from the suspect, who fired off 100 rounds, mostly within the first four minutes. Arredondo thought “it was a barricaded subject, they had time and there were no kids at risk.”
“Of course, it was not the right decision, it was the wrong decision period,” McCraw said.
Children desperately phoned 911
The emergency continued for an hour before a team of Border Patrol agents got a key from a janitor, went inside the classroom, and killed the gunman. As the nightmare continued, children inside the building were phoning 911, including a girl who said, “please send the police now!”
The suspect had crashed his car in a ditch at 11:28 a.m. and shot at two witnesses before approaching and firing at the school. The gunman walked through a door five minutes later that was mistakenly left propped open by a teacher, McCraw said.
A school officer who authorities initially said confronted the gunman actually drove past the suspect while chasing a teacher who he had mistaken for the shooter, McCraw said — yet another twist in the winding account police have given of the massacre.
Given the bungled response from police, many have been incensed by the visuals of parents being held back by officers. Angeli Rose Gomez, a mom of two Robb Elementary students, told the Wall Street Journal that she was handcuffed during the scuffle.
“The police were doing nothing,” she told the outlet. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”