“There is compelling evidence that law enforcement’s response to the attack on Rob Elementary was a catastrophic failure and contrary to everything we’ve learned in the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” Colonel Steven McGrath told the Texas Senate Special Committee. Protect all Texans.
“Three minutes after the object entered the western building, a sufficient number of armed officers were armed to isolate, divert and neutralize the subject,” he continued. “The only thing stopping the dedicated officers ‘corridor between rooms 111 and 112 is the scene commander who decided to put the officers’ lives before the lives of the children.”
It is not clear what happened within those 77 minutes because Texas officials provided conflicting descriptions of the response.
McCraw’s comments on Tuesday were the first time an officer had provided important information about the shooting in a week. He said the waiting results were contrary to the established active shooting protocol – the suspect should be stopped as soon as possible.
“The officers had weapons, the children had nothing. The officers had body armor, the children had nothing,” McGrath said. “The post-Columbine doctrine is clear and compelling and vague: stop killing, stop dying.”
The Department of Public Safety’s timeline states that within three minutes of the gunman entering the classroom, 11 officers arrived at the school, many with guns. The suspect then shot and wounded several officers who approached the classrooms and they retreated into a hallway outside the rooms. The team of officers then stayed on the sidewalk and did not approach the door for 73 minutes.
“While they were waiting, the scene commander was waiting for a radio and guns,” McGrath told Aradonto. “Then he waited for the shields. Then he waited for the SWAT. Finally, he waited for a key he would never need.”
Despite the criticism, McGrath expressed discomfort at calling Arredondo separately. “I do not like to isolate and change a person and say he is solely responsible, but at the end of the day, if you accept the incident order, you are responsible,” McGrath said.
For an hour the officers did not try to break down the door
However, McGrath said video evidence shows that no one put their hand on the door handle to check if the door was locked. Also, the doors of Rob Elementary could not be locked from the inside, McGrath said, which was “ridiculous” from a security standpoint.
In addition, Arredonto initially told responding officers more firepower and equipment were needed to break down the doors. For example, at 11:40 a.m., Aradonto called Wolde police station shortly after the gunman opened fire on officers, asking for help and radio, the DPS transcript says.
However, McGrath said two of the first officers to arrive at the scene had guns.
An official also said that in the first minutes of their response, a fire extinguisher used to force entry was on display, according to the chronology. However, the tool was not brought into the school and was never used until about an hour after officers arrived, the timeline said.
A security picture obtained by an Austin American-Statesman shows at least three officers in the hallway – two of them with guns and a tactical shield – at 11:52 a.m., 19 minutes after the gunman entered. School.
In total, officers approached four ballistic shields inside the school, the fourth of which was 30 minutes before officers entered the classrooms, chronologically.
Why did the responding officers follow the path of Arredonto
An unidentified officer who arrived at 11:56 a.m. said action should be taken.
“If there are children, we should go there,” the official said. Another official replied, “It will be decided by whoever is in charge.”
Massacres took place inside classrooms. Starting at 11:33 a.m., the gunman fired more than 100 rounds in two minutes, followed by intermittent firing over the next hour, including 11:40, 11:44 and 12:21.
Arredonto, however, considered the situation a forbidden subject, McGrath said, and tried to speak with the gunman in English and Spanish.
During the Senate panel hearing, members questioned McGrath as to why Aradonto was in charge of the scene, even though there was no action to stop the shooter.
McGrath said the person in charge was usually the “ranking officer of the agency with jurisdiction”, in which case Arredonto was on the scene throughout the entire incident.
“The sheriff and chief of police of the Woldeaugh Police Department adjourned. Yes, he’s the commander of the scene,” McGrath said. “So by actions and deeds, he gave orders and received information and gave information and controlled the scene.
“It’s neither practice nor policy for the DPS, the Border Patrol, the FBI, all those who came after, the American marshals, to seize anything,” he said.
‘They bring our children down,’ says the father
The report – citing three different news organizations and unnamed sources – highlights the lack of public transparency by Texas officials on such a significant incident. The report underscores his questions from Democratic Texas Senator Roland Guterres to CNN on Monday about why police did not attempt to break down doors quickly.
“We see that there are officers with enough weapons and enough equipment to break into that room,” he said. “I don’t understand why it didn’t happen and why they didn’t break the room.
“Those answers should be there. They should not be swayed in the media like this. The law enforcement agency should tell us what went wrong. It is a joke that we did not get that information. And itself.”
CNN contacted Arredondo’s lawyer George Hyde and the Uvalde Police Department to comment on the reports.
Arrotondo, who did not speak in public after the incident, testified behind closed doors Tuesday to the Texas House Committee investigating the shooting.
The new report further angered grieving families whose questions have not yet been answered.
“They have to be trained professionals,” Flores told police. “I do not understand why they are so reluctant to go back … It’s not fair to stand back for an hour and leave them inside with that gunman. This is cowardice, cowardice, cowardice.”
The city has been criticized for not releasing some records related to the investigation into the shooting. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the district attorney for Uvalde County, has demanded that the records not be released.
“There is no cover-up. Those who claim that the city of Wolverine is withholding information for legal and legitimate reasons are spreading misinformation,” McLaughlin said. “There are specific legal reasons why the City may not release the information at this time.”
The report comes after DPS director McCraw testified that his company plans to release body cameras and footage from inside the Rob Elementary.
“Whenever the district attorney approves it, we’re going to release all the body camera coverage, we’ll be releasing all the school video and the funeral video,” McGrath told the committee testimony on Tuesday.
CNN’s Rosalina Nieves, Dakin Andone, Travis Caldwell and Dave Alsup contributed to the report.