The tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas may have been made worse by law enforcement’s decision to lock the shooter in
Texas police stated Thursday night that they did not immediately pursue the shooter within the school because they feared that they themselves would be shot. However, they also suggested that intentionally locked the shooter in the room where he killed 19 children and 2 teachers in order to trap him.
Texas Department of Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez was confronted on why the situation went so poorly on CNN.
From the Daily Mail:
“Don’t current best practices, Lieutenant, call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?” Blitzer asked.
He replied: “In the active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life. But also one thing that, of course, the American people need to understand is that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots.”
He then appeared to try to take credit for the gunman being locked in the classroom with the kids for an hour – including some he shot at the start of the rampage who later died in the hospital – claiming it saved other lives.
Police initially said that the gunman barricaded himself inside the classroom and that they had trouble gaining access to the room, and one unnamed law official anonymously spoke out to say SWAT teams had to wait for a different school staff member to bring them a key to the class.
“At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and at that point that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school.”
“So they were able to contain that gunman inside that classroom so that he was not able to go to any other portions of the school to commit any other killings,” Lt. Olivarez said.
Experts have slammed the decision, with surgeons even stating that the decision to wait so long would have sealed the fate of injured students–assuring their deaths.
The consensus among medical experts is that gunshot wounds must be treated immediately, and that by waiting over an hour without medical attention the children’s chances of survival dropped considerably.
While the police argue that they saved the lives of the students not in the classroom, their critics are arguing that they also sacrificed 21 lives by locking the shooter in.
Additionally, while cops are not expected to put themselves in preventable harm’s way, they are expected to take some measure of risk to preserve the lives of others in a situation like this. Many are criticizing the law enforcement response for not taking enough risk and responsibility in the situation.
The narrative of locking the shooter in also goes against the initial story that the shooter barricaded himself within the classroom.
Truly, a terrible situation all around with a tragic result. Yet, we must demand answers and accountability for these snuffed out lives.