More than one week after an 18-year-old gunman stormed Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, state officials are still struggling to set the record straight on what really happened that led to the deaths of 19 kids and two adults.
For a week now, the public, the press, and politicians have been on a wild goose chase to find out why it took more than an hour for good guys with guns to take down a school shooter in a small school in the small South Texas town last Tuesday.
Unfortunately, Texas safety officials have traded the truth for multiple false, misleading, and vague statements that have significantly undermined the public’s trust in law enforcement’s ability to protect children like the fourth-graders who lost their lives in the attack.
Not only have they severely undercut the trust of Americans, they’ve infuriated the mourning Uvalde community.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he felt “misled” and “livid” after hearing that a poor police response significantly contributed to the delay in action against the shooter. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also lamented that “No one mentioned the fact that there was this 45-minute to an hour hold by the chief of the police of the school district while there were still shots being fired.”
Here are eight lies Texas officials told about the Uvalde shooting that should get them immediately fired.
1. A School Resource Officer ‘Engaged’ the Suspect
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw originally said a school resource officer “engaged” the suspect before he entered the school.
At one point, McCraw switched tracks and said the officer “was not on campus” at the time of the shooting.
Elsewhere, officials were reported saying the school officer simply “confronted” the shooter instead of actively engaging him.
Texas DPS was forced to walk back both accounts a couple of days later when word got out that the school resource officer completely failed to notice the shooter when he drove past the suspect who was “hunkered down” behind a vehicle.
“[The shooter] walked in unobstructed initially,” Texas DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon eventually admitted. “So from the grandmother’s house, to the [ditch], to the school, into the school, he was not confronted by anybody.”
2. The Shooter Was Outside the School for 12 Minutes Before Entering
Escalon said last week that the shooter lingered outside of Robb for 12 minutes after crashing his car into a nearby ditch. Days later, McCraw said the gun-wielding teen was inside the school within five minutes of wrecking.
3. The Door the Shooter Entered Through Was Left Propped Open by a Teacher
Original reports from the shooting scene at Robb Elementary suggested that a teacher left a back door at the school propped open with a rock which is how the shooter entered the building.
McCraw volunteered the information during his Friday press conference and claimed that DPS obtained video evidence to support this theory.
“We know from video evidence, at 11:27 the exterior door suspected for what the — where we knew the shooter entered, Ramos — was propped open by a teacher,” he said.
Recent statements from Texas state police, however, suggest that the teacher accused of neglecting the back door went back to close it after seeing Ramos. The door, however, did not automatically lock properly. The unnamed teacher’s lawyer also denies that his client left the back door open.
In a complete contradiction of DPS’s original claim, some outlets are even reporting that “security footage obtained from the area has backed up the claim that the teacher closed the door at this time.”
4. The Gunman Was Wearing Body Armor
DPS spokesman Sgt. Erick Estrada claimed shortly after the shooting that the suspect carried “a rifle and [had] body armor on.”
Another DPS spokesman, Lt. Christopher Olivarez, later claimed that the gunman was wearing a vest designed to carry extra ammo but did not have any plates on him.
5. Officers Quickly Engaged The Shooter
McCraw originally said that the first law enforcement officers who arrived at the school “did engage” the shooter “immediately.”
“The bottom line is law enforcement was there,” McCraw said the day after the shooting. “They did engage immediately. They did contain [the gunman] in the classroom.”
Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez also claimed that his officers “responded within minutes.”
It wasn’t until three days after the tragedy that McCraw admitted local law enforcement shied away from helping students and staff after taking fire from the suspect. McCraw claimed that officers misclassified the suspect as a barricaded shooter and that “there were no kids at risk.” Officers reportedly stood outside of the school and then outside of the classroom for nearly an hour while waiting for a Border Patrol tactical team to show up at the scene where students were repeatedly calling 911 for help.
By the time BORTAC arrived and used a janitor key to enter the afflicted fourth-grade classroom, the shooter had been on school property for more than an hour.
6. Officers Weren’t Well Enough Equipped
Oliverez claimed that local law enforcement officers retreated because “they could’ve been shot” and wanted to wait for specialized backup. Records, however, show that Chief Pete Arredondo of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, who ordered officers to stay outside of the classroom where the gunman was, was trained to respond in active shooter situations.
Records show Arredondo recently completed eight hours of active shooter training in December of 2021. He also went through eight hours of the same training in 2020 and 16 hours of “Terrorism Response Tactics – Active Shooter” in 2019. Furthermore, the Uvalde Police Department bragged on Facebook in 2018 about a grant that equipped every officer with body armor.
7. CISD Chief Is Or Is Not Responding to Investigators
DPS claimed on Tuesday that Arredondo has not responded to investigators over his role in delaying a law enforcement response to the Robb shooting.
”The Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde [school district] Police have been cooperating with investigators,” DPS said in a statement. “The chief of the Uvalde [school district] Police provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago.”
On the same day, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News that “The Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde Independent School District police force are no longer cooperating with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s investigation.”
Arredondo, however, told CNN on Wednesday that “I’ve been on the phone with them every day.”
8. Local Law Enforcement Didn’t Mislead Anyone
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin denied that local law enforcement misled the public about their actions during the school shooting.
“Local law enforcement has not made any public comments about the specifics of the investigation into the incident or [misled] anyone,” McLaughlin said. “Statements by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that he was ‘not told the truth’ are not true. All statements and comments made to date about the ongoing investigation are being handled by DPS/Texas Rangers.”
Local law enforcement may not have directly said much about the Uvalde shooting, but officers failed to clarify any of the blatant misinformation parroted by DPS, allowing the public to be misled for days.