Former police officer weighs in on delayed law enforcement response in Uvalde school shooting

Video from inside Robb Elementary shows police waiting over an hour to kill the gunman

ROANOKE, Va. – The response from law enforcement in the Uvalde shooting has been widely criticized and the leak of the video inside the school raises even more questions.

10 News wants to warn you that you may find some of this video disturbing. WSLS believes it is important to show the video because the events of that day have been under intense scrutiny. WSLS has chosen not to air or publish the story with the audio due to the sensitivity of this – but it is available through a number of other outlets if you wish to view it in its entirety.

Families of the victims in Uvalde, as well as the nation, continue to mourn the lives lost on that day, but leaked surveillance footage from inside the school has reignited the anger towards the police response.

10 News asked Dr. Tod Burke, former police officer and retired professor of criminal justice, to weigh in on the video.

“It seemed like the police’s initial response was quick, so that wasn’t really where the issue was,” said Burke.

Despite arriving at Robb Elementary School within minutes of the shooter, police did not go into the classroom.

“Now remember it’s the initial officers at the scene that need to go in quickly, and check the doors, get inside and neutralize the shooter as quickly as possible,” Burke added.

But that was not done – The video shows officers retreating in the hallway after the shooter fired at them.

“The idea of waiting around for backup, that used to be the old days: you stop, you secure the scene, you wait for the SWAT team to arrive, but meanwhile people are being shot, people are being killed,” Burke said.

Burke said that being trained to wait for backup is outdated and that now, law enforcement is taught to get in quickly.

Instead, officers gathered in the hallway and waited over an hour to confront the shooter. Local, state, and federal agencies were there, with seemingly no plan.

“Decide this is happening, now what are you going to do, who’s going to do what?” Burke said. “But everybody should be on the same page, should use the same communication.”

Officers rushed into the classroom and killed the gunman one hour and 14 minutes after police initially arrived and after 19 students and two teachers were killed.

Burke said he hopes this tragedy will reinforce the importance of training and preparedness.

About the Author

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.

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