UVALDE, Texas — A July 6 report from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University shows that law enforcement responding to the Uvalde school shooting on May 24 had three missed chances to slow the gunman before the fatal shooting that resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two adults.
However, on July 7, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin issued a statement, which can be read in full at the bottom of this article, claiming parts of the report are false and that it does not tell the full story.
According to the report, a Uvalde officer armed with a rifle sighted in to shoot the 18-year-old gunman before he entered the school but instead waited for permission from a supervisor. The report states that the officer turned to the supervisor "to get confirmation" about shooting the suspect and that when he turned back to the shooter, he had missed his chance – the gunman was already inside the building.
Two other key issues mentioned in the report involved the school's doors not being locked and one of the first responding officers driving at a high rate of speed through the school's parking lot, causing the officer not to notice the gunman who was in the very same lot at the time.
However, the mayor claims no Uvalde Police Department actually saw the shooter prior to him entering the school and that the person spotted outside was actually a coach.
The report also shows that officers who tried to stop the gunman "lost momentum" after taking fire as they waited for more weapons, including tear gas, to arrive.
ALERRT also reported that officers could have tried to breach the classroom through other methods, such as bursting through sheetrock or windows.
The report raises new criticisms, which have primarily been targeted at the chief of the Uvalde school district police department, Pete Arredondo, as security experts now appear to be condemning the work of other rank-and-file officers who converged on the campus.
The report said it is still unclear why officers finally breached the classroom at 12:50 p.m. – more than one hour after the gunman entered the school.
The report concluded, "While we do not have definitive information at this point, it is possible that some of the people who died in this event could have been saved had they received more rapid medical care."
In response to the mayor's denial, ALERRT director Pete Blair provided the following statement:
"The investigator who conducted our initial briefing was a Texas Ranger. The briefing was only the beginning of our review. We also reviewed video from the school, body cameras and officer statements. As the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) initially requested the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center to conduct this review, they were our conduit to information. DPS gave us access to any and all materials that we requested. Our report clearly identifies the sources of information for each item on the timeline."
He then provided the following excerpt from Page 4 of the report:
"Prior to the suspect’s entry into the building at 11:33:00, according to statements, a Uvalde Police Officer on scene at the crash site observed the suspect carrying a rifle outside the west hall entry. The officer, armed with a rifle, asked his supervisor for permission to shoot the suspect. However, the supervisor either did not hear or responded too late. The officer turned to get confirmation from his supervisor and when he turned back to address the suspect, he had entered the west hallway unabated. (OS per investigating officer interview)."
"ALERRT has not received any information that contradicts what is stated in the report," added Blair. "This is the only officer that we have identified as potentially being able to shoot the attacker before he entered the building. We noted on page 14: 'Ultimately, the decision to use deadly force always lies with the officer who will use the force. If the officer was not confident that he could both hit his target and of his backdrop if he missed, he should not have fired.' The report does not try to establish when each individual officer arrived on scene."
To view the full ALERRT report, click here. Meanwhile, the mayor's statement can be read in full below:
The report by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT) does not give a complete and accurate account of what happened at Robb Elementary School.
No Uvalde police department officer saw the shooter on May 24 prior to him entering the school. No Uvalde police officers had any opportunity to take a shot at the gunman. A Uvalde Police Department officer saw someone outside, but was unsure of who he saw and observed children in the area as well. Ultimately, it was a coach with children on the playground, not the shooter.
Contrary to the ALERRT Report and the timeline provided by the Department of Public Safety after the Senate hearing, DPS troopers were onsite and at the door of Robb Elementary School approximately 3 minutes after the shooter entered the building on May 24. There were dozens of DPS troopers onsite by the time of the breaching the classroom.
I’ve said it once and will say it again, the premature release of piecemeal information or anything related to the May 24 Department of Public Safety(DPS)/Texas Rangers investigation is a disservice to families who lost children or parents because the true facts need to come out once all investigations/reviews, which the City expects will be thorough and fair, are complete. I firmly believe it is imperative the families are provided with complete, unbiased, and comprehensive information about this incident. I will continue to advocate for comprehensive information to be provided to the families and citizens of Uvalde and to make every effort that something like this does not happen again.
As we have noted before, the Uvalde County District Attorney and the DPS have requested the City to not release any City records related to the Robb Elementary School investigation. The District Attorney advised the investigative material is still being reviewed and her investigation is ongoing. When all investigations and reviews are complete, the City will evaluate release of City records.
The City of Uvalde and its Police Department strive for transparency every day.
We have no further comment at this time.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING:
After Uvalde shooting, Texas leaders will spend more than $100 million on school safety, mental health