“The on-scene commander at that time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject,” Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Col. Steven McCraw said.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision,” McCraw said of the supervisor’s call not to confront the shooter. “It was the wrong decision. Period. There’s no excuse for that.”
In all, 80 minutes passed between when officers were first called to the school at 11:30 a.m. to when a tactical team entered locked classrooms and killed the gunman at 12:50 p.m., McCraw said. The tactical team was able to enter using keys from a janitor, he added.
“The levels of failure are just incredible, beyond belief,” said Anthony Barksdale, the former acting Baltimore police commissioner.
“They should have reacted quicker, faster,” he said. “Had they done that? You know, maybe we would have a different result.”
School back door had been propped open
McCraw also revealed further details about how the gunman was able to enter the school unobstructed.
A school teacher who had propped open a locked back door a minute earlier saw the crash and gunman and went to call 911 — leaving the door propped. That 911 call came at 11:30 a.m.
The gunman then moved toward the school parking lot and began shooting into classroom windows, McCraw said. A school resource officer, who was not on campus at the time, heard the 911 call and rushed to the school but drove past the suspect, who was hunkered down behind a vehicle, McCraw said.
The suspect then entered the school via the propped door at 11:33 a.m. and went to the adjoining classrooms 111 and 112, where he continued shooting, McCraw said.
Two minutes later, seven officers arrived to the school and approached the locked classrooms where the gunman had barricaded himself. Two of the officers were shot by the suspect from behind the door and suffered graze wounds, McCraw said.
The gunman fired 16 more rounds inside the locked classrooms between 11:37 and 11:44 a.m., and more officers continued to arrive to the hallway, McCraw said.
At about the same time,…