Officer Had Rifle Aimed at Gunman as He Entered Uvalde School

Report details 3 missed opportunities to thwart school shooting
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2022 4:34 PM CDT
Report: 3 Big Chances to Stop Uvalde Gunman Were Missed
Investigators search for evidences outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022, after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(Newser) – Three major opportunites to thwart the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School were missed and two of them involved police, according to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center—ALERRT—at Texas State University. The report was commissioned by the Texas Department of Public Safety to examine the much-criticized law enforcement response to the May 24 massacre in Uvalde, Texas, the Dallas Morning News reports. The missed chances:

  • An unlocked door. The report found that a teacher who closed an exterior door when the school was locked down didn't check to see that it was locked—and she didn't have "the proper key or tool to engage the locking mechanism on the door." The report says the gunman was able to "immediately access" the school through the door, though even if it was locked, the glass inlay was not made of ballistic glass so the shooter could have shot through the glass to get in even if it had been locked.

  • An unaware officer. An officer arriving at the scene drove through a school parking lot "at a high rate of speed" and didn't spot that the gunman was there, the report says. "The officer had driven more slowly or had parked his car at the edge of the school property and approached on foot, he might have seen the suspect and been able to engage him before the suspect entered the building," ALERRT says.
  • A decision not to shoot. The report found that a Uvalde officer 148 yards away from the door aimed his rifle at the gunman as he entered the school and asked a supervisor for permission to fire, but the supervisor " either did not hear or responded too late." The officer turned away to speak to the supervisor and when he turned back, the shooter was already inside. "A reasonable officer would conclude in this case, based upon the totality of the circumstances, that use of deadly force was warranted," the report says.

The report found that some of the 21 victims—19 children and two teachers—could possibly have been saved if they had received medical attention sooner, but police waited for more than an hour to enter the classroom where the gunman was, the AP reports. The report states that "effective incident command" was never established and officers waiting in the hallway outside the classroom apparently never tested the door to see if it was locked. The officers, the report states, had weapons, body armor, training, and back up, while "the victims in the classrooms had none of these things." Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin has accused state law enforcement of orchestrating a "cover-up" of state and federal failings, Fox reports. (Read more Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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