The immense sadness that has affected the United States since the killing perpetrated on Tuesday, May 24 by an 18-year-old young man in an elementary school in the town of Uvalde, Texas, is now matched by deep indignation. This Friday, State Public Safety Director Steven McCraw admitted that law enforcement made a “mistake” by not immediately entering the school, when Salvador Ramos was in the process of to kill 21 people there, including 19 children.
The facts are chilling: for nearly an hour, 19 police officers remained inactive, even though they were present near the school. The first units arrived only minutes after the assailant, but after coming under fire they took cover and were ordered to wait for reinforcements. In question, the decision of the chief of police of the school district, Pete Arrerondo, who estimated that there were no survivors. The assailant not being in motion, the operation was organized around the category known as the “barricaded suspect” and not the “active shooter”, whereas it was indeed the second which should have been retained.
As proof, the repeated and heartbreaking calls of several children, begging the police to intervene. Tremolos in his voice, Steven McCraw mentioned phone calls from a girl at 12:03 p.m. and 12:10 p.m., when police were already in the hallway. Video circulating on social media also shows parents urging police to intervene and being pushed away from the scene.
The assault was finally launched at 12:50 p.m., after a Border Police unit arrived. The shooter was neutralized at 12:58 p.m., exactly one hour and 25 minutes after entering the premises.
Since the iconic high school shooting in Columbine, Colorado in 1999, priority has been given to disarming the killer. The regulations specify that the intervention units do not have to wait for orders and must immediately fulfill this objective. And to best prepare for these situations, the police organize many exercises. It is therefore with desolation that the families learned that police in the Uvalde school district had simulated a very similar emergency operation two months ago.
In a statement, the White House said Joe Biden and his wife would travel to the battered city this Sunday to share “the community’s mourning.”