The on-scene commander’s decision to delay the break-in to the classroom of aduring the mass shooting this week was the “wrong decision”, authorities said on Friday. Nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway outside the classrooms during the for more than 45 minutes before officers used a master key to open a door and confront the shooter, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said at a press conference.
The on-scene commander – identified by The Associated Press as the school district’s police chief – believed Salvador Ramos, 18, was barricaded in a classroom in Uvalde during Tuesday’s attack and that the children were not in danger, McCraw said.
“He was convinced at the time that there was no longer a threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize themselves” to enter the classroom, McCraw said. .
“Of course it wasn’t the right decision. It was the wrong decision,” he said.
Friday’s briefing came after authorities spent three days providing often conflicting and incomplete information on thebetween the time the shooter entered the school and the time U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the classroom door and killed him. The shooter killed during the attack.
McCraw said there was a barrage of gunfire shortly after the shooter entered the classroom where they killed him, but the gunfire was “sporadic” for a large period of time. part of the 48 minutes while officers waited outside the hallway. He said investigators do not know if or how many children died during those 48 minutes.
Throughout the attack, teachers and children repeatedly called 911 for help, including one girl who pleaded, “Please send the police now,” said McCraw.
Contrary to earlier statements by authorities, a school district police officer was not inside the school when the shooter arrived. When that officer responded, he unknowingly walked past the shooter, who was crouching behind a car parked outside and firing into the building, McCraw said.
At a Friday afternoon news conference, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he was “misled” when initially briefed on the police response.
“The information given to me turned out to be, in part, inaccurate,” he said. “And I’m absolutely livid about it.”
“I expect the law enforcement officials conducting the investigations, including the Texas Rangers and the FBI, to get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty,” Abbott added. “There are people who most deserve answers – and those are the families whose lives have been destroyed. They need accurate answers, and it is inexcusable that they may have suffered from inaccurate information whatever it is. be.”
The motive for the massacre – the deadliest school shooting in the country since Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago – remains under investigation, with authorities saying the shooter had no criminal history or known mental health.