They should have done more.
On Friday (May 27), at a press conference, Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, acknowledged that local police were wrong to wait to engage the gunman while the shooting was active at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas that killed nineteen children and two adults.
McCraw noted the reason for officers’ inaction was their belief students were no longer in harm’s way after the gunman barricaded himself in a classroom.
“From the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision,” McCraw said, adding, “It was the wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that.”
According to reports, several local police entered the school but failed to engage the gunman, who had locked himself in adjoining classrooms; this action has been increasingly scrutinized in the days following the massacre.
However, immediately after Tuesday’s massacre, officials praised the U.S. Border Patrol and the Uvalde police for neutralizing the gunman, but video footage emerged later that showed witnesses yelling at officers to enter the school to confront the shooter.
According to reports by the Associated Press, the father of one of the students killed in the mass shooting suggested bystanders team up and storm the school since police were remaining outside.
In the wake of this criticism, Uvalde Police Department published a press release on Thursday (May 26), stating officers responded: “within minutes.”
But Victor Escalon, a director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said that while officers arrived at the school minutes after the gunman, they couldn’t act until reinforcements and equipment came after the shooter fired at them.