Texas police admit ruling gunman inactive was ‘the wrong decision’
Officials have admitted to critical delays in the law enforcement response to the massacre of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas, where students inside Robb Elementary School made several calls to 911 on Tuesday within the hour officers arrived and when the 18-year-old gunman was fatally shot by an officer.
Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, admitted that officers did not breach a classroom door and kill Salvador Ramos for more than an hour after initially arriving on Tuesday, falsely believing the gunman was “barricaded” and no longer an active shooter threat, despite pleas from schoolchildren inside their classrooms.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered in Houston, Texas on Friday to protest the National Rifle Association’s annual conference, where Senator Ted Cruz and former president Donald Trump addressed the gun rights lobby group to claim their political opponents are exploiting tragedy, despite supporting the politically powerful lobbyists just days after the kilings.
Gunman’s mother says he ‘had his reasons for what he did’
Speaking after her son was shot dead by law enforcement officers, Adriana Martinez Reyes said she had no explanation for his attack on the school.
“I have no words to say. I don’t know what he was thinking,” a distraught Ms Reyes told CNN affiliate Televisa, when questioned by a reporter from the inside of a vehicle.
“He had his reasons for doing what he did and please don’t judge him. I only want the innocent children who died to forgive me.”
Click here for the full story.
Sam Rkaina28 May 2022 10:05
Students trapped inside classroom with gunman repeatedly called 911
Students trapped inside a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during this week’s attack on a Texas elementary school, including one who pleaded, “Please send the police now,” as officers waited more than an hour to breach the classroom after following the gunman into the building, authorities said Friday.
Miah Cerrillo, 11, told CNN that she covered herself with a friend’s blood to look dead.
After the shooter moved into an adjacent room, she could hear screams, more gunfire and music being blared by the gunman. Samuel Salinas, 10, who also played dead, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the assailant shot teacher Irma Garcia before firing on the kids.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 10:00
Trump dings Abbott and other Republicans for pulling out NRA meeting after shooting in Uvalde
Mr Trump addressed the annual meeting at the George R Brown Convention Center just three days after Salvador Ramos opened fire and killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“And unlike some, I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up,” Mr Trump told the crowd to applause.
My colleague Eric Garcia has more:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 09:30
Ted Cruz says ‘far more children’ would die if AR-15 is banned
Senator Ted Cruz has claimed banning the high-powered military-style rifle used by mass shooters in a long line of school massacres would result in more children dying because Americans would not be able to use long rifles to stop street robberies.
Mr Cruz made the outrageous claim during remarks at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston, less than 300 miles from where an 18-year-old gunman used an AR-15-style rifle he’d purchased earlier this month to murder 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas.
Andrew Feinburg has more:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 09:00
Six major police mistakes in the Uvalde shooting have Texans ‘livid’
“Law enforcement is going to earn the trust of the public by making sure they thoroughly and exhaustively investigate exactly what happened,” Mr Abbott said on Friday.
As more details about the school shooting emerge, it’s clear multiple law enforcement failures contributed to the tragic final death toll of 21 people, writes Josh Marcus.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 08:30
Timeline of what happened in the Texas school shooting
Here’s what we know so far about the timeline (in central daylight time) of events leading up to, and on the day of, the shooting in Uvalde on Tuesday.
Graig Graziosi and Gustaf Kilander have the details:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 07:50
‘It was the wrong decision’
The police official blamed for not sending officers in more quickly to stop the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting is the chief of the school system’s small police force, a unit dedicated ordinarily to building relationships with students and responding to the occasional fight.
Preparing for mass shootings is a small part of what school police officers do, but local experts say the preparation for officers assigned to schools in Texas — including mandatory active shooter training — provides them with as solid a foundation as any.“
The tactical, conceptual mindset is definitely there in Texas,” said Joe McKenna, deputy superintendent for the Comal school district in Texas and a former assistant director at the state’s school safety center.
The district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, decided officers should wait to confront the gunman on the belief he was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and children were no longer at risk, officials said Friday.
“It was the wrong decision,” Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference Friday.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 07:21
Beto O’Rourke continues his crusade for gun control at NRA convention
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke addressed hundreds of protesters in Houston outside of the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, calling for action on gun legislation after a shooting in Uvalde left 21 people dead.
“So I ask you for those of you in power and who hold office right now and were in the way and refuse to act: Please promise me you will get in their faces before another child is shot in their face,” he told protesters.
He’s been passionately speaking up since the shooting in Uvalde, including interrupting a press conference from the governor to make his case.
Graig Graziosi had the story on that one.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 06:00
How an elite Border Patrol unit helped kill the Uvalde gunman
Members of the Uvalde Police Department temporarily kept the elite team of Border Patrol commandos who ultimately killed Salvador Ramos from entering Robb Elementary School, The New York Times reports, citing unnamed government sources.
Specially trained agents with the force’s Bortac SWAT team drove from the US-Mexico border to assist responding officers in Uvalde.
They arrived between noon and 12.10pm, nearly 40 minutes before the 18-year-old gunman was killed by law enforcement.
In that time period, nine different 911 calls went out from inside the school that students were trapped and being shot.
The group was baffled why local officers told them to temporarily wait, according to the newspaper, and unsure why the Uvalde PD’s own SWAT team was not already on the scene.
More details in our reporting.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 05:30
Uvalde police trained for an active shooter. So why did they fail so badly?
The Texas city’s Consolidated Independent School District held the training session to “prepare as best as possible” for exactly the type of situation that took place earlier this week.
The Uvalde CISD posted about the training session on Facebook on 22 March.
Graeme Massie looked into their training practices.
Josh Marcus28 May 2022 05:00