Officials call it the ‘wrong decision’ to delay confronting the Uvalde school shooter

people gather near a fence, including police
Law enforcement and first responders gather outside Robb Elementary School following Tuesday’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Their response has since come under wide scrutiny. (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)

Col. Steven McCraw of the Texas Department of Public Safety said at a Friday news conference that in hindsight it was the wrong decision to not enter the classroom in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman was located for more than an hour.

McCraw said that 911 recordings showed that a child in one of the locked classrooms was on the phone with 911 for an extended period — and requested police to be sent in several minutes before the officers obtained keys from a janitor. At that point, they entered the room and shot the suspect, McCraw said.

He said there were “plenty of officers” inside the school from the earliest minutes of the shootout. He said as many as 19 officers from local and federal forces were in the hallway most of the time.

The incident commander on the scene, whom McCraw did not name, believed that once gunfire stopped the situation transitioned from an active shooter situation to a “barricaded subject” situation. It was only after more than an hour that they obtained the keys to the door and entered the room.

McCraw confirmed that the school’s officer was not at the school at the time, but rushed to the school when he heard the reports of gunfire.

McCraw also provided more information about how the shooter was able to gain access to the building: A teacher left the school to get her cell phone when she heard the nearby car crash and shots, but then as she re-entered, she propped the door open. The gunman had been hiding behind a car nearby, he said.

There were 142 spent rounds found inside the school, McCraw said, along with 173 live rounds. The gunman had a total of 60 magazines with him, he said, including 31 magazines that were in a backpack that he did not take with him inside the school.

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