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The police department in Uvalde, Texas – who have been continuously under fire in the wake of the gun massacre that killed 21 at Robb Elementary School – did not follow their own guidelines in their handling of the shooting.
The standard operating procedure – which had been gone over just two months earlier in training for a situation like this – says that Uvalde officers needed to prioritize the students and teachers.
‘A first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field,’ the Uvalde PD guidelines say, as obtained by the New York Times.
Since 2020, schools in the Texas town of about 16,000 have held at least two ‘active-shooter training days.’ The most recent occurred just two months ago, but mass-murder Salvador Ramos, 18, was still able to kill 19 children and two teachers Tuesday after police officers at the scene refused to engage him for 90 minutes.
Those training sessions include classroom instruction as well as role-playing in the hallways of the school.
Uvalde, Texas, Police Chief Pete Arredondo speaks following the tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary school
Law enforcement work during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where a gunman killed nineteen children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas
‘A first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field,’ the Uvalde PD guidelines say
There are several bluntly pointed instructions for officers within the instructions, one of the first being ‘STOP THE KILLING’: ‘Officer’s first priority is to move in and confront the attacker.’
There are even instructions preparing for the scenario in which an officer is shot, that suggests their partner continue onward.
That’s a stunning difference from Thursday night, when officers revealed that they didn’t immediately rush in to find the shooter on Tuesday’s attack after being shot at because they feared they might be killed.
They even suggested that they deliberately locked the gunman in the classroom where he slaughtered 21 people in order to trap him, as it was revealed how frantic children made repeated 911 calls begging for help while watching Ramos pick-off their friends.
Department of Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez made the astonishing comments during an appearance on CNN last night.
He was being challenged by Wolf Blitzer over why the first officers who responded to the shooting retreated after Salvador Ramos shot at them with his AR-15 and then waited an hour for tactical SWAT teams to take him out, leaving him alone in a classroom with the 19 fourth graders and two teachers who he slaughtered.
‘Don’t current best practices, Lieutenant, call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?’ Blitzer asked.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw speaks during a press conference held outside Robb Elementary School on Friday, May 27, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas
An officer is directed to go on solo should their partner become shot during an incident
Immediately, officers are directed to ‘STOP THE KILLING’ and confront the attacker
He replied: ‘In the active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life. But also one thing that, of course, the American people need to understand is that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots.’
He then appeared to try to take credit for the gunman being locked in the classroom with the kids for an hour – including some he shot at the start of the rampage who later died in the hospital – claiming it saved other lives.
Police initially said that the gunman barricaded himself inside the classroom and that they had trouble gaining access to the room, and one unnamed law official anonymously spoke out to say SWAT teams had to wait for a different school staff member to bring them a key to the class.
‘At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and at that point that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school.
‘So they were able to contain that gunman inside that classroom so that he was not able to go to any other portions of the school to commit any other killings,’ Lt. Olivarez said.
Scores of Border Patrol agents also rushed to the scene after hearing the incident unfold on scanners. When they arrived, the Uvalde Police Department also told them not to go inside, according to a law enforcement official who spoke anonymously to The New York Times.
Eventually, the agents joined parents and a handful of local police officers in pulling kids through windows from other classrooms.
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Department of Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez made the astonishing comments during an appearance on CNN last night. He said the ‘American people need to understand’ that the cops could have been shot so they retreated
This is how the shooting played out over the course of nearly two hours from when Ramos killed his grandmother at home. He arrived at the school at 11.28am and the first 911 calls were made. He then walked unobstructed into the building with his AR-15 and headed towards the classroom. He fought off cops at 11.44am, then was left alone in the room with the victims until around 12.44pm – when SWAT arrived. The incident was declared over at 1.06pm
As the gunman unleashed terror inside the school, desperate parents were forced to wait outside and some were even put in handcuffs after they tried to enter the school to find their kids and rescue them
Preparing for mass shootings is a small part of what school police officers do, but local experts say the preparation for officers assigned to schools in Texas – including mandatory active shooter training – provides them with as solid a foundation as any.
‘The tactical, conceptual mindset is definitely there in Texas,’ said Joe McKenna, deputy superintendent for the Comal school district in Texas and a former assistant director at the state’s school safety center.
The district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, decided officers should wait to confront the gunman on the belief he was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and children were no longer at risk, officials said Friday.
‘It was the wrong decision,’ Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference Friday.
In the guidelines, it is instructed that ‘a single officer may need to confront the suspect on their own’ one way or another given how little time to operate they have.
The active shooter training was mandated by state lawmakers in 2019 in response to school shootings. Under state law, school districts also are required to have plans to respond to active shooters in their emergency response procedures.
Across the country, police officers who work in schools are tasked with keeping tabs on who’s coming and going, working on building trust so students feel comfortable coming to them with problems, teaching anti-substance abuse programs and, occasionally, making arrests.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims he was lied to about Tuesday’s school massacre after it emerged cops didn’t enter a classroom where the bloodbath was unfolding for 90 minutes.
‘I was misled,’ Abbott said on Friday, addressing a press conference in Uvalde about Tuesday’s shooting at Robb Elementary School which saw 19 students and two teachers murdered by Salvador Ramos, 18, who was eventually shot dead by cops.
‘I am livid about what happened. I was on this very stage two days ago, and I was telling the public information that had been told to me in a room just a few yards from where we are write now.
‘I wrote hand notes in sequential order.
‘When I came out on that stage and told the public what happened, it was a recitation of what everyone told me.
‘As everybody has learned, the information I was given turned out – in part – to be inaccurate.
‘I am absolutely livid about that.’
Abbott said that law enforcement leaders must ‘get to the bottom of every fact, with absolute certainty.’
He said it was ‘inexcusable’ that families may have suffered from inaccurate information, and ordered law enforcement to ‘get down to every second what happened, and explain it to the public – but most importantly, to the victims.’
Greg Abbott is seen on Friday in Uvalde, Texas, explaining why he got so much information wrong on Wednesday
US Customs and Border Protection agents (left) are seen alongside local police (center) and sheriff’s deputies (right) working to rescue kids from Robb Elementary on Tuesday. Questions are being asked as to why they did not enter the school
New photos have emerged depicting part of the law enforcement response to the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, as questions mount about why police didn’t engage the shooter more quickly
Abbott on Wednesday had defended the actions of the police and other local officials, emphasizing their heroics and insisting they prevented the situation from being far worse.
Yet questions have been rapidly mounting about the actions of law enforcement – in particular, why they waited outside the school for an hour while Salvador Ramos, 18, was free inside the building to murder 19 children and two teachers.
A minute-by-minute break down of how cops waited outside class while kids called 911 after gunman walked through door that had been propped open by a teacher
11.28am: Gunman crashes truck, gets out of car with AR-15
He is seen by witnesses in a funeral home next to the school who tell 911 they see a man with a gun walking towards the school
11.31: Gunman is now in the parking lot of the school hiding in between vehicles, shooting at the building
11.32: School resource officer who arrives in a patrol car after hearing 911 call about truck crash drives past the shooter
11.33: Gunman enters the school and begins shooting into room 111/room 112. He shoots more than 100 rounds
11.35: Three police officers enter the same propped-open door as the suspect from the Uvalde PD. They were later followed by another four, making total of seven officers on scene
Three initial officers went directly to the door and got grazing wounds from him while the door was closed. They hang back
11.37: Another 16 rounds fired inside the classroom by the gunman
11.51: Police sergeant and USB agents arrive
12.03: Officers continue to arrive in the hallway. As many as 19 officers in that hallway at that time
At the same time, a girl from inside the classroom calls 911 and whispers that she is in room 112
The shooter’s abandoned AR-15 next to his pick-up truck. He bought the gun two days after his 18th birthday
12.10pm: The same girl calls back and advises ‘there are multiple dead’
12.13pm: The same girl calls again
12.16pm: The same girl calls 911 for the fourth time in 13 minutes asking for help
12.15pm: BORTAC (SWAT) members arrive with shields
12.16pm: The same unidentified girl calls 911 and says there are ‘8-9 students alive’ in classroom 112
12.19pm: A different child from classroom 111 calls. She hangs up when another student tells her to in order to be quiet
12.21pm: Gunman fires again
12.26pm: One of the girls who previously called 911 calls back again. She says the shooter has just ‘shot at the door’
12.43pm: The girl on that girl is still on the line. She says ‘please send the police now’
12.50pm: Police finally breach the door using keys from the janitor and kill gunman
12.51pm Officers start moving children out of the room