Washington, May 27 (EFE).- Police erred by delaying entry to the elementary school in Uvalde during the shooting Tuesday that left 19 children and two teachers dead, the top law enforcement official in Texas said Friday.
“A decision was made on the scene – I wasn’t there – that this was a barricaded subject situation, there was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team with the equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject,” the director of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), Steven McCraw, told a press conference in Uvalde.
“From the benefit of hindsight from where I am sitting now, that of course it was not the right decision, it was a wrong decision, very, there was no excuse for that,” he said.
McCraw said that the incident commander at Robb Elementary School, the chief of police of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Pete Arredondo, was “convinced there was no more threat to the children.”
The DPS director offered a revised timeline of Tuesday’s events showing that for 77 minutes, shooter Salvador Ramos moved back and forth between two classrooms connected via a shared bathroom as students and teachers frantically telephoned for help.
Ultimately, a tactical team of specially trained US Border Patrol agents entered the school and fatally shot the 18-year-old Ramos.
Videos of the scene outside the school during the standoff show that parents pleaded with the 19 police officers to enter the school and that family members who tried to take matters into their own hands were forcibly subdued by the cops.
In a related development, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican running for re-election, canceled a planned appearance at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which got under way Friday in Houston, less than 300 mi (500 km) from Uvalde.
The NRA, which opposes most gun-control measures and makes substantial donations to both Republican and Democratic political candidates, ignored calls from some Texas politicians to postpone the convention in view of this week’s bloodbath in Uvalde.
And while Abbott has decided to address the gathering by video rather than in-person, former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz are still scheduled to take part.
Three entertainers scheduled to perform at the convention, Don McLean, Larry Gatlin, and Lee Greenwood, have also bowed out.
As many as 80,000 NRA members were expected to be in Houston for the event, while thousands of people turned out Friday for an anti-gun protest near the conference venue at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. EFE arc/dr