'Abject Failure': Officers Were Ready to Neutralize Uvalde Shooter in 3 Minutes

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Posted: Jun 21, 2022 12:15 PM
'Abject Failure': Officers Were Ready to Neutralize Uvalde Shooter in 3 Minutes

Source: AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

A special Texas Senate committee met Tuesday morning to hear testimony on the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde in which two teachers and 19 children were killed. Among the witnesses was Steve McCraw, the director of Texas' Department of Public Safety, and he didn't hold back in his criticism of the local response as the shooting unfolded. 

McCraw, who was initially critical of the local response, had more facts to share about how authorities responded — and didn't take action — while children were killed and wounded inside the school. 

"There's compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we've learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre," McCraw told the state Senate committee, before sharing a devastating detail:

"Three minutes after the subject entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject." Three minutes — just 180 seconds later — and officers were ready to go take down the shooter, prevent him from shooting any other students, and deliver aid to those who may have already been wounded. But they didn't. 

"The only thing stopping the 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 testified. McCraw has previously identified the on-scene commander as the local school district police chief, Pete Arredondo.

"The officers had weapons, the children had none," McCraw continued. "The officers had body armor, the children had none. The officers had training, the subject had none."

"One hour, 14 minutes, and 8 seconds — that's how long the children waited, and the teachers waited, in room 111 to be rescued," McCraw testified. "And while they waited, the on-scene commander waited for a radio, and rifles, then he waited for shields, then he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed," he added of the unfathomable amount of time during which no action was taken to stop the shooter. "The post-Columbine doctrine is clear, and compelling, and unambiguous," McCraw reminded. "Stop the killing, stop the dying."

What McCraw says matches with the timeline of events given at a press conference on May 26 — that Townhall covered here — in which authorities were on the scene within minutes and ready to go — only to have more than an hour go by before the suspect was eventually engaged and neutralized by elite border agents who arrived on the scene. 

McCraw is right to call the local response an "abject failure" and "antithetical" to the lessons that should have been learned in the wake of other horrific school shootings, including Columbine and Parkland. Sitting around waiting for a madman to decide what he's going to do or what his demands are is not an option when such an individual is inside a building full of innocent children. Without the arrival of the elite border agents, it's unclear how long it would have taken for the on-scene commander to finally order action or how many more innocent children would have died. Once again, we're getting an increasingly clear picture of how the tragedy in Uvalde was a failure of government — not the Second Amendment.