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Texas Official Says Classroom Door Was Unlocked During Uvalde Shooting: 'A Key That Was Never Needed'

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A top Texas official is describing the police response to the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, as an “abject failure.”

Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, testified during a Texas Senate committee hearing, “There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

“Three minutes after the suspect entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject,” he continued.

McCraw added, “The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111, and 112, was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”

“One hour, fourteen minutes, and eight seconds. That’s how long the children waited, and the teachers waited in room 111 to be rescued. And while they waited, the on-scene commander waited for radio and rifles, then he waited for shields, then he waited for S.W.A.T. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed,” McCraw testified.

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He added that the door was unlocked.

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McCraw’s testimony comes nearly a month after a shooter opened fire in Robb Elementary School, killing 19 children and two teachers.

Tony Plohetski, an investigative reporter for the Austin Statesmen, posted a photo on Twitter on Monday that showed officers in the hallway of the school with rifles and at least one ballistic shield.

“Multiple officers were inside Robb Elementary School with rifles and at least one ballistic shield at 11:52 a.m. the day of the shooting, new video and other evidence shows. They didn’t enter the classroom for another 58 minutes,” he wrote.

Initially, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) praised law enforcement’s response to the shooting.

However, in the days after the massacre, it came to light that officers waited over an hour before they entered the classroom and killed the shooter. McCraw told reporters last month that the on-scene commander was “convinced at that time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize with the proper equipment to go in.”

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Still, he called it the “wrong decision.”

Abbott later insisted he was misled about the police response.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who coordinated the response, told The Texas Tribune in an interview earlier this month that law enforcement waited for a key and that dozens of keys did not work to open the door to the classroom where the shooter was.

ABC News reports that a source told the network that for roughly an hour, law enforcement never tried to open the door.

Arredondo also told the Tribune that he instructed officers to stay away from the door to avoid provoking the shooter.

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