WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced Tuesday that Robb Elementary School will be demolished.
- McLaughlin said the city wouldn’t ask a child or teacher “to go back in that school.”
- New evidence shows police officers had the means to enter the classrooms where the shooter was but waited for nearly an hour to act.
The mayor of Uvalde, Texas announced that Robb Elementary School will be torn down.
While attending a city council meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Don McLaughlin was asked by an attendee about the school being “demolished.”
“My understanding — I had a discussion with the superintendent — that school will be demolished,” he said. “We could never ask a child to go back, or a teacher to go back into that school ever.”
Meanwhile, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw appeared before a Texas Senate committee to talk about the Uvalde police response to the school shooting. He said that officers could have stopped the gunman sooner if the commander had not hesitated.
McCraw described the police response as “an abject failure” and claimed that police could have stopped the shooter within three minutes after arriving at the school.
“The officers had weapons; the children had none,” McCraw said during the hearing, watched by PEOPLE. “The officers had body armor; the children had none. The officers had training; the subject had none. One hour, 14 minutes and eight seconds. That’s how long children waited, and the teachers waited, in Room 111 to be rescued.”
McCraw did not hesitate to blame Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, the commanding officer at the scene. Later, he said that he had no idea he was in charge. McCraw stated that Arredondo placed the lives of police officers before those of the children.
McCraw said officers with rifles were on the scene within moments, and the classroom doors were not checked if they have been locked from the inside.
Surveillance video shows that officers did not even try to open the doors — which were likely already unlocked — and instead waited for over an hour for the keys to the classrooms.
“I don’t mean to be hyper-critical of the on-scene commander,” McCraw testified on Tuesday morning. “But those are the facts. This set our profession back a decade.”