Texas DPS Official Admits ‘Wrong Decision’ in Police Response to Uvalde School Shooting

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
and Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.
May 27, 2022 Updated: May 27, 2022

UVALDE, Texas—Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw admitted Friday that it was the “wrong decision” to not engage Texas mass shooter Salvador Ramos sooner.

When asked why police at Robb Elementary didn’t act quicker, McCraw told reporters at a news conference that “the on-scene commander at the time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject.”

“A decision was made on the scene—I wasn’t there—that this was a barricaded subject situation, there was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team with the equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject,” he said. “At that point, that was the decision, that was the thought process.”

Epoch Times Photo
Texas state troopers place flowers brought by locals to the Robb Elementary School makeshift memorial on May 27, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/Epoch Times)

McCraw said that in hindsight, “it was not the right decision, it was a wrong decision, very, there was no excuse for that,” referring to the lack of engaging Ramos sooner. “I wasn’t there but I’m just telling you from what we know, that we believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can,” he said.

Ultimately, to enter the Robb Elementary classroom, officers used a key provided by a janitor, the agency director revealed. Ramos also fired approximately 100 rounds during the entire incident, McCraw added, noting that the finding was based on audio evidence.

In the Tuesday incident, Ramos killed 19 children and two adults in the worst U.S. school mass shooting in a decade. Authorities said that the teen, who recently turned 18, did not display signs of mental health problems although he was described as a loner who had problems in school.

Ramos also entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde through a door that was propped open by a teacher just minutes before, McCraw added. McCraw said that there was also no school resource officer at the school, and he could not say why. The officer, he said, later responded when someone called 911.

Before Ramos entered the building, the officer inadvertently drove past the suspect, who was hiding behind a car. The officer instead confronted a teacher who he believed was the suspect, McCraw told reporters.

Epoch Times Photo
Uvalde school district Chief of Police Pete Arredondo hugs a school student at a community prayer evening held the day after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and 2 teachers, in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

At around 11:27 a.m. Tuesday, the teacher propped open the door at Robb Elementary, coming about 1 minute before Ramos crashed his vehicle nearby, McCraw said. The same teacher about two minutes later at 11:30 a.m. reported the crash and a male with a gun, although it’s not clear why the teacher didn’t close the door.

McCraw did not provide more details on why the door was propped open in the first place or why the school resource officer confronted a teacher.

Gemma Lopez, a 10-year-old survivor of the attack, said that she heard Ramos say “leave me alone please” to law enforcement who responded to the shooting.

Lopez told ABC News that she turned off the light to her classroom after a “bullet came through the wall.”

Later, the girl said, “I heard the officers yelling at the shooter … to put the firearm down, and then the shooter said ‘leave me alone please’ and then he started shooting.”

Epoch Times Photo
A makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School is filled with flowers, toys, signs, and crosses bearing the names of all 21 victims of the mass shooting that occurred on May 24, in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.