The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday law enforcement officers should have entered the classroom sooner in Uvalde, Texas, during a massacre that left 19 children and two teachers dead earlier this week.
The commander at the scene of the shooting at Robb Elementary School decided the incident had transitioned into a “barricaded suspect” situation, not an “active shooter” — a decision that Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said was wrong while speaking during a news conference.
“From the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period. There’s no excuse for that,” McCraw said.
The gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m. Tuesday, but officers did not enter the classroom where the shooter was holed up and kill him until 12:50 p.m., McCraw said. During that time, multiple 911 calls came in from students inside the classrooms, McCraw said. During the calls, the students said they were alive and asked for police to enter to help, McCraw added.
However, the commander on scene “was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize with the proper equipment to go in,” McCraw said.
“Based upon the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were at risk, and it was in fact still an active shooter situation, and not a barricaded subject,” McCraw said.
‘Please send the police now’: Students called 911 from inside classroom
The first 911 call alerting police to the gunman came at 11:30 a.m. after he crashed into a ditch near the school. Calls from students inside the school began at 12:03 p.m., McCraw said.
The first call lasted a minute and 20 seconds, with the student whispering and saying she was in Room 112, McCraw said. Multiple calls came from the same student, one at 12:10 p.m. advising multiple people were dead, one at 12:13 p.m. and another at 12:16 p.m. saying eight to nine students were alive.