It’s been nearly one month since a gunman killed 21 students and teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The state of Texas began semi-public hearings on the law enforcement response to the shooting last week, but on Tuesday, officials presented a fucking harrowing timeline to lawmakers in Austin.
Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw presented a minute-by-minute timeline, calling the police response an “abject failure and antithetical to everything we have learned over the past two decades.”
The biggest “abject failure?” Apparently no cop checked the door to the fucking classroom while children were slaughtered.
In his testimony to a special state Senate committee, McCraw said the classrooms doors could only be locked from the outside. In fact, a teacher had complained about the broken door lock. “There’s no way to lock the door from the inside. And there’s no way for the subject to lock the door from the inside,” McCraw told lawmakers.
The door was unlocked for the entire 77 minutes. “I don’t believe, based on the information that we have right now, that that door was ever secured. The door was unsecured,” McCraw told lawmakers.
The gunman arrived at the elementary school at 11:28 a.m. The school was on lockdown as he entered the school’s northwest entrance at 11:33 a.m. A review of school surveillance, body cameras and 911 transcripts by Texas Tribune found that the gunman was able to enter the room without a problem—the door was unlocked.
During the next three minutes, the gunman is firing bursts from his automatic weapon. At least two officers from Uvalde Police and another from the school’s police department show up. Soon after, Pete Arredondo, chief of the Uvalde school district police force, arrived outside the classroom; he calls dispatch.
According to the Tribune, one minute after Arredondo’s call, a dispatcher asked an officer if the door is locked. The officer says they don’t know, but they have a Halligan tool regularly used by firefighters to prey open doors available. They would never use it. In fact, the Tribune reported, a Halligan wasn’t brought into the building for almost an hour.
McCraw’s testimony was incredibly detailed when compared to the last month of stonewalling. By the end of May, both Ulvade police forces stopped cooperating with the state investigation. The state investigation is trying to suppress body cam footage from responding officers from being released to the public for the absolutely bogus reason that said footage might be embarrassing.
It should be embarrassing. The cops on the scene should be humiliated. They took 77 minutes to confront a gunman who was shooting small children. If you want the job of protecting and serving, you have to actually protect and serve. It shouldn’t just be a way to get occasional free meals at the diner.
As McCraw said, these people “decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children.”
It should haunt them for the rest of their lives.