A Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) lieutenant told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that police officers responding to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, held back because “they could have been shot.”
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez said law enforcement arrived quickly but after hearing gunshots, opted to wait for reinforcements from a special tactical team.
Blitzer pressed Olivarez on the matter, suggesting protocol dictates they try to take down the shooter regardless.
“Don’t current best practices, don’t they call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on-site?” he asked.
“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- that officers are making entry into this building,” Olivarez explained.
“They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots,” he continued, doing his best to convey the environment with which police officers were confronted.
“They are receiving gunshots,” he continued.
“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 that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school.”
Wolf Blitzer: “Don’t current best practices, call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?”
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez: “They could’ve been shot.”
— The Jewish Ginger Resister (@JewishResister) May 27, 2022
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Police Respond to Uvalde Shooting
It’s difficult to ascertain what Olivarez is trying to say here or why he believes this comes off as a reasonable explanation.
If police officers had been shot and killed the “gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people”?
More or less than say, if they stood back and did nothing for up to an hour?
Because the current working timeline of events and statements from Steve McGraw, the Texas Department of Public Safety Director, indicates the gunman could have been in the school for 40 minutes to an hour before he was taken out, something Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin describes as “unacceptable.”
Don McLaughlin, Mayor of Uvalde “If this timeline was truly an hour, it’s unacceptable. We are so sorry for these families.”@TuckerCarlson
— Gayle Trotter (@gayletrotter) May 27, 2022
As to his point that responding officers don’t know where the gunshots are coming from, fair enough. But here are the two things they DO know: 1) Shots are being fired and 2) They’re at a freaking elementary school.
Shouldn’t the natural instinct for somebody assigned to protect and serve be to actually protect and serve these children? Not to assess, ‘Welp, can’t take the chance of getting shot because what good would I be then?’
Are you kidding me right now?
Texas Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Chris Olivarez just told Wolf Blitzer on CNN there were wounded students alive in the classroom with the gunman during the hour it took for the Border Patrol tactical unit to take down the Uvalde shooter at Robb Elementary School
— Tom Cleary (@tomwcleary) May 26, 2022
Parents Outraged Over Police Response
Olivarez’s response comes as Texas officials have launched an investigation into how Uvalde police responded to the shooting. It also comes as videos have cropped up online apparently showing police officers fighting with parents who were begging them to go in and stop the shooter.
One such video appears to show the scene with people yelling and screaming as police push people back from the perimeter. Some may have been pepper-sprayed and/or tackled to the ground.
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) May 26, 2022
Another video shows anxious parents pleading with police officers to go into the school and stop the carnage with one individual shouting, “Y’all keep fighting with us, go fight that mfer!”
Video of Uvalde parents with cops — “y’all keep fighting with us, go fight that mfer!” pic.twitter.com/icDG2J595a
— ✨TheStarsAtNight ✨ (@Star5AtNight) May 26, 2022
While all of this was going on, the tragically slow police response may have directly contributed to a higher death toll from the horrific shooting.
One victim, a young girl, died at the hospital after bleeding for an hour after she was shot. That shocking report led to MSNBC’s Katy Tur muttering “Jesus” as she heard the news.
“Every parent who had a child in that room will wonder about that hour or so.” As Texas DPS gives information on the ongoing Robb Elementary shooting investigation, @KerryNBC talks to @KatyTurNBC about the blurry timeline of events and what key facts are still missing. pic.twitter.com/lfxlSpCVy6
— Katy Tur Reports (@KatyOnMSNBC) May 26, 2022
Making Olivarez’s remarks about how the police responded to the Uvalde shooting even more troubling is that, while they waited out of fear of being shot to save the children in that classroom, some weren’t nearly as apprehensive when it came to their own kids.
In a video in which Olivarez speaks with Vanessa Croix of KENS 5, he seems to admit that some officers went in to rescue their own kids.
It’s not super explicit but this does sound like Texas DPS spokesman Lt. Chris Olivarez confirming that cops entered the school to save their own children during the shooting while police were holding back families and refusing to go in outside. https://t.co/YNRZ1ObxwA
— Evan Hill (@evanhill) May 26, 2022
“We’ve heard that some law enforcement officers actually went into school to get their kids out. Can you talk about that?” Croix asked.
“Right. So what we do know, Vanessa, right now, that there was some police officers, families trying to get their children out of school because it was a active shooter situation right now,” he replied. “It’s a terrible situation right now.”
Aside from the overall timeline, some reports indicate the shooter allegedly spent 12 minutes outside of the elementary school firing shots before he even walked into the building.
The police officers aren’t the only ones who need to provide some answers. The school also needs to explain how he was still able to enter the building after firing shots for that long outside.
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