Uvalade. United States:
The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday that it was a “wrong decision” for “pregnant” police not to immediately break into a classroom where a gunman eventually shot and killed 19 children and two teachers.
Steven McCrae, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a news conference that “from a retrospective point of view … it was the wrong decision. He was attacked by questions about why he waited for strategic backup before police entered the period.”
“From what we know, we believe there should have been an entry as soon as possible,” McCrae said, adding: “If I thought it would help, I would apologize.”
Texas City Police have been facing angry criticism since Tuesday’s tragedy over why it took an hour to neutralize the gunman – who was barricaded inside a classroom at Rob Elementary School.
Raising a storm of questions during an intense briefing in Uvalade, McCrae tried again to explain the sequence of events.
He said the commander at the scene believed the suspect at the time, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was barricaded alone in the classroom – and that no one had survived the initial gunfire.
“I’m not defending anything, but you go back to the timeline, there was a dam, hundreds of rounds were pumped in four minutes, okay, in those two classrooms,” McCrae said.
“Any subsequent shootings were scattered and were near the door. So the belief is that no one else can survive there and the matter is now trying to persuade law enforcement to ignore or communicate suicide.”
McCrae told reporters separately, however, that a 911 call was received at 12:16 p.m. – one of several made from inside the classroom – that eight or nine children were still alive.
The door was finally breached at 12:50 pm.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)