DPS Director Steve McCraw tells Texas Senate committee police response was a ‘failure’

UPDATE: Steven C. McCraw, safety director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, started off his testimony in front of a Texas Senate committee by saying the police response to the May 24 Uvalde mass shooting at Robb Elementary was an ‘abject failure.’

McCraw testified that the incident commander at the scene, Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, made calls during the incident that should have never been made. 

“There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure,” McCraw said. 

McCraw went through the timeline of the incident, detailing where the gunman first arrived at Robb Elementary, how he entered the school, and then held the classrooms where he killed 19 students and two teachers.

The gunman was inside the classroom for nearly an hour despite there being officers waiting in the hallway outside of the classroom just minutes after his arrival, McCraw testified. 

While the gunman was in the classroom, Arredondo made a call saying that no more students or teachers were at risk and the shooter was locked in the classroom, despite multiple 911 calls from inside the classroom throughout the shooting demonstrating otherwise.  

McCraw shared a conversation between Arredondo and a dispatcher for the first time where he called for “more firepower,” saying that officers inside the school only had pistols. McCraw said that was incorrect. Two officers had rifles. 

McCraw also made it clear in his testimony that officers never checked if the door was locked, and recounted radio chatter from Arredondo saying he needed keys to get into the room. However, McCraw said that the classroom doors were unlocked within five minutes of the gunman entering the building. 

“But moreover, you didn’t need a key,”McCraw said. “You shouldn’t have to ever wait for a key to breach an access point.”

The Texas Tribune reported on Monday that security camera footage from inside the school showed that officers had ballistic shields and a Halligan bar, which allows law enforcement and first responders to force entry through locked doors.

McCraw said Border Patrol officers entered the building with a sledgehammer, breached the classrooms, and killed the gunman. 

“It should have never happened this way” McCraw said. “This set our profession back a decade.”

McCraw also released some new details about the 18-year-old shooter, who he says days before the attack was messaging people through gaming platforms and social media about his intent.

The DPS director said he believes that the shooter might have engaged in animal cruelty, but reiterated past reports that there was no record of his behavior or any mental health issues. 

He also said that the gunman had a joint bank account with his grandma, giving him access to money that allowed him to buy things like rifle magazines, advanced optical attachments, and slings before buying the AR-style rifles. 

“Could we have intervened? The answer is overwhelmingly ‘yes,'” McCraw said.  

Original story follows below. 

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw is set to speak on the Uvalde school shooting in front the Texas Senate committee at 9 a.m. Tuesday after new information about law enforcement’s handling of the situation was uncovered Monday.

Watch the livestream on the committee’s website, or click the window below to watch it here.

McCraw first released new details days after the May 24 mass shooting that killed 19 kids and two teachers, saying that the gunman was inside the school with an AR-style rifle. The information came after days of conflicting reports from local law enforcement. 

New reports from the Texas Tribune and Austin-American Statesman show police were in the building within minutes of the gunman’s arrival, but did not attempt to open any of the classroom doors to confront him.  

MySA will update this story as it develops. 

Original News Source Link

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