As if the horrors of the Robb Elementary School massacre weren’t enough for our nation’s fragile psyche, as morose and sorrowful and tragic as they were, a rare, far more insulting pain came next for us when we found out just how incompetent the police response to the incident was.
Just hours after a young gunman entered the school and killed 19 children and two teachers, social media users were raging over video of local police standing outside the school, refusing to go inside and engage withe the shooter.
Then, in a display that had Americans enraged, these same officers could be seen physically restraining brave parents and bystanders who were willing to confront the attacker.
Now, a new report has been thrust upon the public that details another awful instance of inaction.
A Texas police officer had the Uvalde gunman in his sights but never fired a shot, believing — perhaps incorrectly — that he needed permission to fire, a new study of the mass killing revealed Wednesday.
The report from Texas State University, reviewing the law enforcement response to the deadly attack at Robb Elementary School, raised the troubling question of whether Salvador Rolando Ramos could have been stopped before he even entered the campus where he would kill 19 children and two teachers on May 24.
Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, which regularly evaluates active shooter responses, pointed to several significant errors that were made before Ramos walked through an open school door.
The report was damning.
The most disturbing could be that a Uvalde police officer reported he was at the scene where Ramos, 18, had crashed his truck before he got out carrying a rifle.
The killer walked into the teachers’ parking lot at 11:32 a.m. “and fired through windows into the westmost rooms prior to entering the building,” according to the report, titled “Robb Elementary School Attack Response Assessment and Recommendations.”
Before Ramos entered the school at 11:33 a.m., “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,” the report continued. “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.”
The news will almost certainly reignite the controversy surrounding the police response in Uvalde, particularly as another investigation being conducted by the DOJ looms just over the horizon.