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Two decades of shooter response strategy ignored in Uvalde school shooting

Texas School Shooting Report
Posted at 9:53 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 21:53:37-04

A total of 376 officers converged on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, more than the entire police force in a mid-size American city like Fort Lauderdale, Florida or Tempe, Arizona.

For more than 70 minutes on May 24, not one officer stopped the shooter, even though the sound of gunfire can be heard in newly released video. By the time the officers took action, 19 elementary school students and two teachers were dead or mortally wounded.

The response counters active-shooter training that emphasizes confronting the gunman, a standard established more than two decades ago after the mass shooting at Columbine High School showed that waiting cost lives.

“This is going to set back law enforcement 20 years. It really will,” said Greg Shaffer, a retired FBI agent who’s now a Dallas-based security consultant. “It was a calamity of errors.”

Reggie Daniels
FILE - Reggie Daniels pays his respects a memorial at Robb Elementary School on June 9, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to the mass shooting that left 21 people dead at the elementary school but “systemic failures” created a chaotic scene that lasted more than an hour before the gunman was finally confronted and killed, according to a report from investigators released Sunday, July 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

While it isn't clear how many additional people in Robb Elementary were shot while law enforcement waited and hesitated, the delay meant more time before the wounded could get potentially life-saving care. A damning report  was released on Sunday from an investigative committee from the Texas House of Representatives that detailed the chaotic response, the Associated Press reported.

“You have to assume there are people in critical need of medical attention,” he said. “The terminology that we use when we train is, ‘You have to stop the killing before you can stop the dying.’”