As the country grapples with the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade, concerns about police delays have stirred outrage and questions about whether faster action could have saved lives in Uvalde, Texas.
Officials on Friday acknowledged a catastrophic failure by law enforcement to not immediately enter the classroom amid a gunman’s massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school this week.
Critical minutes ticked by as a school district police chief instructed over a dozen officers to wait in the hallway, believing there was no longer an active attack, even as terrified students pleaded for help in 911 calls and desperate parents begged to be allowed to save their children.
Police inaction and shifting, contradictory law enforcement narratives have eroded public trust and left a nation wondering if life-saving medical aid may have been delayed for children who desperately needed it.
“Clearly there was kids in the room,” Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday. “Clearly, they were at risk. … There may be kids that are injured, that may have been shot but injured, and it’s important for life-saving purposes to immediately get there and render aid.”
Former Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told the LA Times that critically injured people should typically receive care within an hour before the risk of mortality increases.
“You’ve got to stop the bleed of those children, and you’ve got to stop others from being shot,” he said.
Dr. Demetrios Demetriades, a professor of surgery and director of trauma at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, told the Times a patient’s mortality rate increases by about 10% for every 10 minutes of delayed bleeding control.
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Protests brew around NRA convention; speakers unmoved on gun rights
The National Rifle Association’s annual convention was set to continue Saturday after kicking off in Austin, Texas, just days after the Uvalde massacre. Friday’s events drew large protests from people arguing for tighter gun control laws in response to the shooting deaths of 19 children and two teachers.
Speakers at the convention on Friday condemned the gunman and argued that “gun bans do not work.” Every Texas politician scheduled to speak at the convention Friday canceled their in-person appearances except for Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who told attendees that the school shooting in Uvalde is “an evil that has happened too many damn times.”
“Taking guns away from these responsible Americans will not make them safer, nor will it make our nation more secure,” he said to applause. “Gun bans do not work.”
Speakers included former President Donald Trump, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and two NRA leaders, Jason Ouimet, the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
– Madlin Mekelburg and John C. Moritzm, Austin American-Statesman
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Stunning details from shooting emerge in Friday press conference
An intense news conference Friday included acknowledgments from authorities that police were too slow to confront the gunman and addressed many of the contradictory remarks made by police over the days since the shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.
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“From the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period. There’s no excuse for that,” said Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was among the first people to deliver information to the public about the shooting on Tuesday, said he was “livid” about the misinformation provided by police, and urged investigators to get to the bottom of what happened.
– Christal Hayes and Grace Hauck
‘Please send the police now’: A timeline of student calls to 911
Several calls to 911 were made by students inside the school, some who were locked in with the shooter while police were waiting to breach the school. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said at a press conference that the calls from inside the school began shortly after noon on Tuesday.
- 12:03 p.m.: The first call lasted a minute and 20 seconds, with a student whispering and saying she was in Room 112.
- 12:10 p.m.: The same student said multiple people were dead.
- 12:13 p.m.: A call came in from the same student.
- 12:16 p.m.: The same student called, saying eight to nine students were still alive.
- 12:19 p.m.: A call came in from a student who said they were in Room 111, who hung up after another student told the caller to do so.
- 12:21 p.m.: Three gunshots, believed to be fired at a classroom door, were heard during a 911 call.
- 12:36 p.m.: The first student called again for 21 seconds. The student “was told to stay on the line and be very quiet.” The caller told the operator, “he shot the door.”
- 12:43 and 12:47 p.m.: The first student called again and asked, “please send the police now.”
- 12:46 p.m.: The first student said she “could hear the police next door.”
- 12:50 p.m.: Audio of shots being fired were heard on a call.
- 12:51 p.m.: Audio of what sounded like officers moving students from the room was heard on a call.
McCraw said two students who made 911 calls survived the shooting.
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Students who survived Texas school attack describe scene
A young survivor of the massacre at a Texas elementary school said she covered herself with a friend’s blood and pretended to be dead while she waited for help to arrive.
Miah Cerrillo, 11, told CNN that she and a friend called 911 from her dead teacher’s phone Tuesday and waited for what felt like, to her, three hours for officers to arrive at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
Miah said that after the shooter moved from one room into the adjacent one she could hear screams and a lot more gunfire, and that the gunman then started blaring music.
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The children who survived the attack, which killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers, described a festive, end-of-the-school-year day that quickly turned to terror.
Samuel Salinas, 10, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he and other classmates pretended to be dead after Ramos opened fire on the class. Samuel was struck by shrapnel in his thigh.
“He shot the teacher and then he shot the kids,” said Samuel, who was in Irma Garcia’s class. Garcia was one of the two teachers killed.
Gemma Lopez, 10, was in a classroom down the hall when the shooter entered the building. She told “Good Morning America” that a bullet came through her classroom wall before any lockdown was called.
Contributing: The Associated Press