‘Wrong decision’ not to breach classroom, says Texas official

Published May 28, 2022
Police personnel attend a press briefing in Uvalde on Thursday.—Reuters.
Police personnel attend a press briefing in Uvalde on Thursday.—Reuters.

UVALDE: The Texas head of public safety said on Friday that in “hindsight” it was the wrong decision for police not to immediately breach the Uvalde classroom where a gunman ultimately shot dead 19 children and two teachers.

“From the benefit of hindsight... it was the wrong decision, period,” Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw told a news conference at which he was assailed by questions over why police waited for tactical backup before going in.

“From what we know, we believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can,” McCraw said, adding: “If I thought it would help, I’d apologize.” Police in the Texas town have come under angry criticism since Tuesday’s tragedy over why it took an hour to neutralize the gunman -- who was barricaded inside a classroom at Robb Elementary School.

NRA convenes in Texas in wake of massacre

Fielding a flurry of shouted questions during an intense briefing in Uvalde, McCraw sought once again to explain the sequence of events.

He said the on-scene commander believed at the time the suspect, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was barricaded alone in the classroom -- and that the gunman’s initial shooting spree had left no survivors.

McCraw separately told reporters, however, that a 911 call received at 12:16 pm -- one of several made from inside the classroom -- reported eight or nine children still alive.

The door was eventually breached at 12:50 pm.

America’s powerful National Rifle Association kicked off a major convention in Houston on Friday, days after the horrific massacre of children at a Texas elementary school, but a string of high-profile no-shows underscored deep unease at the timing of the gun lobby event.

Former president Donald Trump was among the scheduled speakers at the annual convention, held around four hours drive from the small town of Uvalde.

But with millions of Americans grieving and angry following the worst school shooting in a decade, Abbott — who has brushed aside increasingly emotional calls for tougher gun laws in Texas — is expected to make a pre-recorded video address instead.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2022

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