Outrage over police delays after Texas gunman opened fire

Police confirm they waited an hour before confronting a shooter who killed 21 at a Texas elementary school, and have sparked disbelief from local residents and alarmed law enforcement officials over the flawed tactics.

“I understand they fear for their own lives, but these guys are in tactical gear,” said Laura Pennington, whose 8-year-old son Adam was hiding in the principal’s office during the massacre. “They could have attacked the building from all sides. He terrorized these children. They had to do more.”

Pennington, whose brother-in-law was among those who rushed to the school to help but was forcibly kept outside by officers, was finally reunited with her son on Tuesday afternoon. But she said she was in contact with a woman whose niece was wounded in the attack and was still hospitalized as of Friday.

“There are a few more that are critical and I don’t know if they will survive,” Pennington said. “I want to cry because they deserve better.”

Police are under increasing scrutiny after significantly altering the narrative of events on Tuesday when the shooter arrived at the school. According to initial reports, the police confronted 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos. But officials now admit they waited.

“They say they stormed in,” said Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grade daughter Jacklyn Cazares was killed in the attack and who ran to the school as the massacre unfolded.

“We didn’t see that,” he told the Associated Press.

A commander at the scene stopped 19 officers from storming a classroom and confronting the gunman.

“Obviously it wasn’t the right decision,” Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference, fighting back tears. “That was the wrong decision. Period.”

With 19 officers, McCraw said there were “many officers who could do whatever needed to be done.” But the commander inside – Pete Arredondo, the police chief for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District – decided the team needed more equipment and officers to enter the classroom where the shooter was hiding. He said the team didn’t move to take out the gunner until a full U.S. Border Patrol tactical unit arrived.

McCraw didn’t say how many children would have been saved if officials had stepped in immediately. He also did not say to what extent the commander knew about the children’s requests for an emergency call.

“Ultimately, this is tragic. What are you saying to the parents of 19 children or the families of two teachers?” McCraw said. “We are not here to defend what happened. We are here to report the facts.”

Experts said they were alarmed by the tactic.

“You have to stop the bleeding of these children and you have to stop others from being shot,” former Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told The Times after the press conference. “You have to go in immediately. The kids called 911 for help.”

Seriously injured patients typically require care within an hour or the risk of mortality increases significantly, Acevedo said, adding, “We used to call it the golden hour.”

Pennington said she had many questions about why police didn’t step in sooner.

“It would have been a noble risk,” Pennington said. “There were parents who ran in and actually saved their kids. That’s not their job,” she said. “Imagine how many people he saved by taking matters into his own hands. These guys have guns and are ready to fight for their families.”

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-05-28/outrage-anger-over-police-delays-at-texas-school-after-gunman-opened-fire Outrage over police delays after Texas gunman opened fire

Alley Einstein

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