Missed opportunities to stop Texas school massacre revealed — Analysis

Tactical assessment reveals new details about the shooting at Uvalde Elementary School

A new May assessment revealed that there were many opportunities to arrest the gunman behind the mass shooting at Uvalde Elementary School in Texas. On May 24, the attacker killed 19 school students and 2 teachers.

On Wednesday, the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT-C) at Texas State University released the report. This program works closely with federal and state authorities to find the most effective ways to respond and prevent such incidents. The document, which was 26 pages long, detailed the events and actions of law enforcers.

ALERRT stated that a police officer was able to fire at the gunman following the crash of his vehicle outside Robb Elementary School, and prior to he entered the school.

Officer Uvalde PD “was armed with a rifle and sighted in to shoot the attacker; however, he asked his supervisor for permission to shoot. The UPD officer did not hear a response and turned to get confirmation from his supervisor,”According to the report.

Shooting at the man – who previously fired his weapon at a nearby business and was openly carrying a rifle into the school – would have been justified use of deadly force, the assessment said.

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But, it was only 148 feet (135 meters) between the officer and his target. Although this is within the range of an AR-15-type rifle’s effectiveness, it was not within Texas’s required 100-yard limit for the qualification of a patrol rifle. ALERRT reported that the concerned officer had concerns about accidentally injuring another person or missing the gunman. 

“If the officer was not confident that he could both hit his target and of his backdrop if he missed, he should not have fired,”The assessment was accepted.

Six key points were identified by the ALERRT report as areas where Uvalde’s loss of life could have been avoided or minimized. One of these was the miss opportunity to eliminate the attacker from far.

Other examples include not locking the outside doors and classroom doors, which were unlocked at the time of the shooting, as well as an incident in which the school officer who responded to the first shot was unable to see the gunman due to his fast driving speed.

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According to the report, there were also issues in the manner that the officers first responded approached the classrooms where shooter was shooting at students. They moved from opposite directions towards the doors, potentially exposing themselves to crossfire. However, they fell back and did not enter the room when the shooter opened fire.

“We expect officers to assume risk to save innocent lives,”The report was noted. “There is a chance that officers will be shot, injured, or even killed while responding. This is something that every officer should be acutely aware of when they become a law enforcement officer.”

Many criticize the police’s decision to hold off for nearly an hour before they sent in a team of US Border Patrol tactical troops to take out and kill the gunman. ALERRT claimed that there was likely to have been an ineffective command throughout the incident, which could have impacted the entire shooting response.

Texas Department of Public Safety requested the completion of this report. The report was created from a briefing that an investigator held with select staff members at the center, their responses to verbal questions and surveillance footage.

An independent state review is underway at District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee’s request.

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