Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw on Friday acknowledged that law enforcement made the "wrong decision" by waiting to enter an Uvalde, Texas classroom as a mass shooting unfolded, multiple outlets have reported.
"Obviously, based on the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were still at risk," McCraw said during the high-stress and emotional news conference. "From the benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period."
Police have come under fire in recent days for their unclear handling of the Tuesday incident, which left at least 21 dead, including 19 children. Many have wondered what took authorities so long to enter the school and confront the shooter, who is believed to have been inside the building for roughly an hour. Meanwhile, both kids and teachers were calling 911 and pleading for help, McCraw said.
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The commander at the scene incorrectly believed the situation inside the classroom had transitioned from an active shooter situation to a barricaded hostage situation, McCraw explained at the presser. Consequently, "[n]early 20 officers stood for about 45 minutes in the hallway," The Associated Press writes.
The police finally entered the classroom after obtaining a key from a janitor, which they believed they had time to do, McCraw said.
"What do I say to the parents?" the official replied, when asked exactly that. "I don't have anything to say to the parents, other than what happened. We are not here to defend what happened, we are here to report the facts."
"If I thought it would help," he continued, "I would apologize."
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