Controversy Erupts Over Police Response In Texas School Shooting

People are questioning why local police idly stood by for more than an hour during the Uvalde school shooting.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Uvalde school shooting

Last week, America was rocked once again by another mass school shooting that claimed the lives of 19 elementary students and 2 brave teachers. As the United States and the rest of the world look to Uvalde, Texas, where the deadly incident occurred, there are still many questions. However, even as more details are unraveled, there are signs of controversy over how authorities responded in those crucial minutes, that turned into hours, in the Uvalde school shooting, and it is infuriating many.

Border patrol agents were responsible for stopping the gunman from wreaking more havoc in the school. According to CNN, the agents shot and killed the 18-year-old as he emerged from a classroom closet. But soon after these reports were released, many questioned why it was over an hour before he was stopped. It is now known that at least 19 police officers stood in the halls during the Uvalde school shooting, as the gunman continued to take the lives of more innocent children. 

Now that this news is topping headlines across the nation, Texas officials are claiming that this is not standard practice. The Associated Press reports that local authority’s inaction and delay in confronting the shooter may lead to punishment, lawsuits, and possibly criminal charges against the police involved. For now, it seems much of that blame lays on the city’s police chief, who was in charge of halting his officers and keeping them from entering the classroom during the Uvalde school shooting.

Authorities are now acknowledging that students and teachers inside the classrooms were on phones with 911 dispatchers, begging them to send help into the classrooms. Authorities from adjoining agencies spoke with the press in anonymity about their own outrage at the local police’s failure to act. One reported that they urged the police chief to let them into the room. Another reported that audio recordings from the scene prove that some officers pleaded with the chief, saying that the shooter was still active. However, the police chief claimed that he based his reasoning to hold back on response in the Uvalde school shooting for so long on a belief that the gunman was no longer actively attacking students inside the classrooms. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who initially praised authorities for saving lives during the Uvalde school shooting, has now stated that he was misled in reports about the initial police response.  Furthermore, he vowed that the state would enact a thorough investigation into the police’s response and actions.  While everyone has questions about why the police chief decided to halt his troops in the hallway, many people are further outraged and using this newfound information as further proof to back claims that more police presence on school campuses won’t necessarily deter more mass shootings.

As politics claws its way into debates over what might have saved more lives during the Uvalde school shooting, those in favor of stricter gun laws point to the foiled plan of local authorities, as they sat idly by for more than an hour while the gunman claimed more lives. The Guardian reports that police were on the scene in under four minutes after the shooter gained entry to the school through the unlocked door, and many wonder how many lives might have been saved if officers had acted swiftly. But more than anything else, the happenings inside the school might just prove that more guns and more security don’t necessarily mean that these assaults won’t be able to be pulled off by the perpetrators.

Uvalde school shooting

Regardless of how you look at the situation, it won’t change the fact that  21 innocent lives were taken far too soon last week. Mass murders like the Uvalde school shooting are quite unique to the United States, which furthers claims that gun laws might need modifying. Whether or not more lives may have been saved if the authorities broke into the room abruptly will never be known, but it sheds light on a major issue in America, and that is the notion that police officers across the nation receive wide disparity in how they are trained to react in situations like this.