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School officer wasn’t on campus during shooting; gunman entered through propped-open door: Officials

Uvalde Police Department in Uvalde, Texas. (Uvalde Police Department/Released)
May 27, 2022

The school shooter in Uvalde, Texas, was able to enter Robb Elementary School through a door that had been propped open by a teacher, and was never confronted by the school’s resource officer who was not on campus at the time, officials revealed on Friday.

During a press conference on Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety officials told reporters that a teacher had propped the door open at 11:27 a.m., just one minute before the gunman crashed his vehicle into a ditch near the school.

When asked why the school’s resource officer was not on campus at the time, officials said they would “have all those answers down the road.”

Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw told reporters that the commander on the scene believed that the situation had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject, which is why officers did not breach the classroom where the gunman fatally shot 19 children and 2 teachers. The commander believed there were “no more children at risk.”

“Obviously, you know, based upon the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were at risk, and it was in fact still an active shooter situation and not a barricaded subject,” he said.

“With the benefit of hindsight, what I’m saying now, is that of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period. There is no excuse for that,” McCraw admitted.  

“Texas embraces and teaches the active shooter doctrine…as long as there’s kids, as long as there’s, someone is firing, you go to the gun, you find them, you neutralize them. Period,” he explained. “There are some nuances when transitioning to a barricaded subject, and also transitioning to a hostage situation, and of course, the decision at the scene was that this was still a barricaded subject. They did not go back to an active shooter.”

During the press conference, McCraw struggled to read a series of 911 calls made by children who were inside the school at the time of the attack.

“And now I would like to go over the 911 timeline. I’ll warn you it’s not…” he said, choking up, “it’s better that I read it than you listen to it. The caller identified – I will not say her name – but she was in room 112, called 911 at 12:03. The duration of the call was 1 minute and 23 seconds. She identified herself and whispered she’s in room 112.”

“At 12:10, she called back and advised that multiple are dead. 12:13 again she called on the phone. Again, at 12:16, she called back and said there was 8-9 students alive. At 12:19, a 911 call was made, and another person in room 111 called. I will not say her name. She hung up when another student told her to hang up,” he continued. “[At] 12:21, you could hear over the 911 call that three shots were fired. At 12:36, 911 call that lasted for 21 seconds, the initial caller called back – the student child called back – and was told to stay on the line and be very quiet. She told 911 that ‘he shot the door’ at approximately 12:43.”

“At 12:47 she asked 911 to ‘please send the police now,’” McCraw struggled to say. “At 12:46, she said that she could hear the police next door. At 12:50, shots are fired, they could be heard over the 911 call, and at 12:51, it is very loud and sounds like the officers are moving children out of the room. At that time, the first child that called was outside before the call cuts off.”