At the scene of the Wolde school massacre, there were enough officers to stop the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, and the Texas state police chief testified Tuesday that they never checked to see if the classroom door was locked. The answer to law enforcement is “bad failure”.
Instead police officers with guns were standing byThe gunman carried out the May 24 attack on Rob Elementary School . The 18-year-old gunman used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
“I do not care if you have flip-flops and Bermuda shorts, you go in,” said Col. Steve McGrath, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, in a blistering testimony at the state Senate hearing.
The classroom door could not be locked from the inside, but there was no indication that officers tried to open it when the gunman pierced it, said Col. Steve McGrath, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Testimony at State Senate hearing. Instead, the police waited for a key.
“I have great reason to believe it was never protected,” McGrath said of the door. “How about trying to see if the door is locked?”
Delays in law enforcement response have become the focus of federal, state and local investigations.
McGrath explained to Wolde School District Police Chief Pete Aradonto: “The only thing preventing dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 is the scene commander who decided to kill the officers’ lives. The lives of the children.”
“Obviously, there was not enough training in this situation, it was simple and straightforward because terrible decisions were made by the on-site commander,” McGrath said. He said investigators were unable to “re-interview” Arredonto.
The head of public security presented the timeline that three officers with two guns entered the building within three minutes of firing. A few minutes later several more officers entered.
The police decision to detain most of what law enforcement has learned in the two decades since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado killed 13 people, McGrath said.
“You don’t have to wait for the SWAT team. You have an officer, that’s enough,” he said. He added that officers do not have to wait for shields to enter the classroom. According to McGrath, the first shield arrived within 20 minutes of the shooter entering.
Also, eight minutes after the shooter entered, an officer said police had a “rogue” crow bar that could be used to break down the classroom door, McGrath said.
State police initially said the gunman entered the school through an outer door opened by a teacher. However, the teacher closed the door, but without her knowledge, McGrath said it could only be locked from the outside. The gunman “walked straight,” McGrath said.
The gunman was familiar with the building and was a fourth-grader in the same classroom where he carried out the attack, McGrath said. The head of public security said the gunman had not been in contact with police that day.
Texas Sen. Paul Bettencourt said the whole prototype of locking and firing practice would be useless if the doors could not be locked.
Bettencourt challenged Arredonto to testify in public and said he should have fired himself immediately. He pointed out angrily that he heard gunshots while police were waiting in the hallway.
“At least six shots have been fired this time,” he said. “Why is this person shooting? He’s killing someone. But the commander of this incident has found all the reasons why he did nothing.”
McCraw spent nearly five hours providing a clear picture of the massacre, outlining a series of missed opportunities, communication breakdowns and errors based on an investigation that included nearly 700 interviews. In case of misconduct:
- Arredonto has no radio.
- Police and sheriff’s radios did not work inside the school. Only the radios of the border patrol agents on display did, and they did not work properly.
- Some of the maps of the school used by the police to coordinate their response are incorrect.
Questions about the law enforcement response began a few days after the assassination. Three days after the shooting, McGrath said Aradonto had made the “wrong decision” not to enter the classroom for more than 70 minutes, while distressed parents outside the school begged fourth-graders to call 911 for help within two classrooms. Officers go inside.
Arredonto later said he did not consider himself responsible and that the law enforcement response was controlled by someone else. He rejected repeated requests for comment from the Associated Press.
Regarding the time elapsed before officers entered the classroom, McGrath said: “In the context of the firing, it was intolerable.”
“It put our business back a decade. That’s what it did,” he said of the police response in Wolverhampton.
Police did not find anything red flagged in the school discipline files of the shooter, but learned through interviews that he was involved in animal cruelty. “He walked around with a bag of dead cats,” McGrath said.
During the days and weeks of the shooting, officers provided conflicting and misleading accounts of what had happened, sometimes withdrawing just hours after the reports were released. But McGrath assured lawmakers: “Everything I testified about today has been confirmed.”
If only one recommendation could be made, it would be for additional training, McGrath said. He also said that every state patrol car in Texas should have a “co-bag” including a shield and door breakers.
“I want every troop to know how to transgress and have the tools to do it,” he said.
Families of those killed in the shootingFrom law enforcement after Austin released a photo of an armed policeman in an American-Statesman school hall. Pictures reviewed by the newspaper show a time stamp taken almost an hour before the gunman was stopped.
During a school board meeting on Monday, several family members of the victims emotionally appealed to Aradonto to resign.
Brett Gross, uncle and bodyguard of the victim Uzziah Garcia, said: “We have been defeated by Pete Arrotondo.
“My mother died protecting her students. But who will protect my mother?” Said Liliana Garcia, daughter of Irma Garcia, one of two teachers who died trying to protect their students.
A senior sheriff’s assistant The New York Times said Two Uvalde city police officers missed an opportunity to shoot the gunman before he could enter the school.
Unidentified officers, one of whom was armed with an AR-15 style rifle.He was playing in the fire line outside the school, Ricardo Rios, vice president of nearby Jawalla County, told the newspaper.
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