Police chief in charge suspended after Uvalde school massacre


A police officer lays flowers in front of the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Wu Xiaoling/XinHua/dpa

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19 children and two teachers lost their lives in the killing spree – the criticism of the police is massive: they acted too hesitantly and much too late. Now follow the first personal consequences.

Almost a month after the massacre at an elementary school in the US state Texas the school district police chief has been placed on leave until further notice.

There are several ongoing investigations into the incident, but it’s unclear when the results will be available, the school district chief said Uvalde, Dal Harrell. In view of the “continued lack of clarity”, he decided to put police chief Pete A. on leave with immediate effect, it said.

An 18-year-old gunman shot dead 19 children and two teachers at a primary school in the small town of Uvalde at the end of May. The attacker shot the children and teachers in two connected classrooms with an assault rifle. Only about 75 minutes after the shooter opened fire, emergency services penetrated into the room and killed the perpetrator. the police was heavily criticized for its hesitant intervention.

At a hearing in the Texas Senate, the director of the Texas Public Safety Agency, Steven McCraw, said on Tuesday that just three minutes after the shooter entered a classroom and opened fire, nine police officers were outside the room, two of them with guns. More were gradually added. The operations manager decided to wait for reinforcements, more guns and protective equipment. None of this was necessary, McCraw argued.

In such a situation, if in doubt, a police officer with a gun is enough to stop the gunman – even if that poses a risk for the officer. The police officers in front of the room had weapons, protective equipment and the training for such situations children none of that, McCraw said. Nevertheless, the students and teachers had to wait “an hour, 14 minutes and 8 seconds” for emergency services to enter the room to save them.