Police ‘wrong’ for not breaking down door in Texas shooting – Capital News

Texas Department of Public Safety Director and Colonel Steven McCraw speaks during a press conference outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 27, 2022 © AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

Uvalde (United States) (AFP), May 24 – A senior Texas security official said on Friday that police were wrong to delay the storming of the classroom where an armed teenager was locked up with dead and injured children – stoking fears that police inaction cost Uvalde lives.

Police have faced heavy criticism since Tuesday’s tragedy over why it took more than an hour to neutralize the shooter – who ultimately killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.

“In hindsight…it was the wrong decision, period,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said at an emotional press conference, during which his voice broke. repeatedly shattered as he was bombarded with questions about the delay.

“From what we know, we think there should have been an entry as soon as possible,” McCraw said, adding, “If I thought it would help, I would apologize.”

McCraw revealed in harrowing detail a series of emergency calls – including from a child pleading for police help – that were made from the two adjoining classrooms where the shooter was barricaded.

An overview of the Robb Elementary School crime scene is shown showing the shooter’s path © AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

But in seeking to explain the delay, he also said the on-scene commander believed at the time that the 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was there alone, with no survivors, after his initial assault.

“I’m not defending anything, but you go back in the timeline, there was a barrage, hundreds of rounds were pumped out in four minutes, okay, in those two classrooms,” McCraw said.

“Any shooting thereafter was sporadic and it was at the gate. So the belief is that there may not be anyone alive.

However, McCraw separately told reporters that a 911 call received at 12:16 p.m. — one of many made from inside classrooms — reported eight or nine children still alive.

Fact file of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, USA, where a gun-toting teenager killed at least 19 young children and two teachers on Tuesday, May 24. © AFP

As many as 19 officers were outside the classroom door at the time, plus an unknown number of tactical team members who had just arrived, according to McCraw’s schedule.

The door was finally opened at 12:50 p.m. with the keys provided by a concierge.

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McCraw said the caller – a child who had dialed 911 multiple times – begged the police to come. Her last call was cut off as she walked outside.

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott told reporters who grilled him at a testy press conference on Friday that he had received inaccurate information following the massacre.

“I was misled,” Abbott said. “The information given to me turned out to be partly inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about it.”

-NRA Congress-

Gabriella Uriegas (2nd from right), a football teammate of Tess Mata who died in the shooting, cries as her mother Geneva Uriegas holds her as they visit a makeshift memorial outside the County Courthouse Uvalde in Texas on May 26, 2022 © AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

The mighty National Rifle Association kicked off a major convention in Houston on Friday, but a series of high-profile no-shows underscored deep unease at the time of the gun lobby event.

Former President Donald Trump slammed calls for tougher gun controls during remarks at the three-day annual convention, held about a four-hour drive from Uvalde.

“The existence of evil in our world is no reason to disarm law-abiding citizens,” Trump said. “The existence of evil is one of the best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens.”

Thousands of firearms enthusiasts turned out for the event, filling a vast convention hall filled with booths displaying firearms, walls of semi-automatic rifles and hunting products.

“That’s it, that’s the mega,” said a man in his 60s, as he handled a new rifle he was considering buying.

A police officer walks past a makeshift memorial for the victims of the shooting outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 27, 2022 © AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

But with millions of Americans grieving and angry after the Uvalde shooting, ‘American Pie’ singer Don McLean led a wave of dropouts from the event, while Abbott said he won’t would appear more in person.

McLean said it would be “disrespectful and hurtful” to perform at the “Grand Ole Night of Freedom” concert scheduled for the convention on Saturday. At least five other country music stars, including Lee Greenwood and Larry Gatlin, are also said to have pulled out.

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Faced with increasing scrutiny, arms manufacturer Daniel Defense – who made the assault rifle bought by Ramos – has also decided to stay away.

– Horror and trauma –

Dora Mendoza (right), the grandmother of Amerie Garza, who died in the mass shooting, mourns in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Uvalde County Courthouse in Texas on May 26, 2022 © AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

Uvalde’s shooting was the deadliest since 20 children and six staff members were killed at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

Highlighting the horror and trauma of the Uvalde massacre, 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo described smearing herself with the blood of a deceased classmate in an attempt to hide from the gunman, saying she stayed there for what seemed like hours until help finally arrived.

Cerrillo, whose hair has started to fall out in clumps since the massacre, also told CNN that she and a friend searched for their dead teacher’s cellphone and used it to call 911 operators for help. .

President Joe Biden will travel to Uvalde on Sunday to make the case once again for gun control, as activists work to galvanize voters on the issue ahead of November’s midterm elections .

Despite the scourge of mass shootings, nationwide gun control efforts — from banning assault rifles to mandating mental health and criminal background checks for purchasers — have failed to repeatedly, although polls show support from a majority of Americans.