Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw says it was the wrong decision by police officers to wait and not immediately breach a classroom door inside the Uvalde, Texas elementary school where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers Tuesday and injured more than a dozen others.
McCraw said the scene commander, who he identified as the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated School District Police Department, believed the incident had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded person and that no other children were at risk.
Based on 911 calls and other evidence obtained in the ongoing investigation that indicated there were children alive in the room, McCraw said that decision, in hindsight, was not the right one.
Get DFW local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC DFW newsletters.
“Obviously, based on the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were still at risk,” McCraw said. “From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period.”
McCraw said the gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and that two officers were in the building two minutes later. By that time, officials said, the gunman had locked himself in one of the classrooms.
By 12:03 p.m., there were 19 officers in the hallway outside the classroom, though they would not breach the door until 12:50 p.m. despite gunshots being heard on at least one 911 call placed at 12:21 p.m.
McCraw addressed the media Friday morning following a news conference the day before that seemed to raise even more questions about the timeline of events and what resistance the gunman received prior to entering the school.
McCraw said Friday morning new evidence revealed a teacher had propped open one of the exterior doors and that is how the gunman was able to enter the building. Once inside, McCraw said he fired more than 100 rounds.
On Tuesday, the state police said the teacher closed the propped open door as the gunman approached and that the door didn't lock. The DPS said: “We did verify she closed the door. The door did not lock. We know that much and now investigators are looking into why it did not lock.”
UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING
The director also clarified information released Thursday that the gunman entered the building unopposed after initial reports said he was confronted by an officer with the Uvalde Consolidated School District. McCraw said the officer was responding to the call and confronted a person outside the school who ended up being a teacher. McCraw said the officer actually passed by the gunman who was crouching behind a vehicle outside of the building.
McCraw shared new details about 911 calls made by students, including one who called repeatedly asking the dispatcher to "please send police now."
McCraw said the gunman had a history of discussing school shootings and buying a gun during chats on Instagram in February and March of this year. In September 2021 he asked his sister to help him buy a weapon, which she flatly refused.