“However, we do know this: There’s 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,” DPS Director Steven McCraw told a Texas Senate panel on Tuesday.
Elaborating, McCraw suggested that the officers could have stopped gunman Salvador Ramos “three minutes” after he entered the school because there “was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject.
“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,” he claimed.
Eight minutes after Ramos entered, police reported that they had a crowbar that could be used to break open the classroom door, he said. Nineteen minutes after Ramos entered, officials brought their first ballistic shield into the building, he remarked.
It comes as documents obtained by local news outlets suggest that several police officers armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield were in Robb Elementary School within minutes of the suspect entering. KVUE-TV also released an image showing several officers in the building 19 minutes later, although they did not enter the classroom Ramos was in for nearly another hour.
During his testimony, McCraw again noted that Ramos entered Robb Elementary through an unlocked door. A teacher previously told news outlets via her attorney as she went inside the building to report a car crash involving Ramos, and when she saw Ramos approaching, she kicked the door shut after propping it open with a rock.
“It was closed, but unlocked,” McCraw said, saying it allowed the gunman to “walk straight through it.”