Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was booed Sunday by a crowd outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where 21 people, including 19 children, were killed by a lone shooter last week — marking the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade.
“Shame on you, Abbott,” someone in the crowd yelled, Reuters reports, as the Republican approached a makeshift memorial, where mourners laid bouquets of flowers below a sign that says “Bienvenidos” (“Welcome,” in Spanish) below the school’s name.
“We need help, Governor Abbott,” another person yelled.
“Please, Governor, help Uvalde County! We need change! We need change, governor. We need change. Our children don’t deserve this,” a man shouted, in a moment captured on video that was posted to Twitter. “Our children are under constant attack in this community. We need help.”
On Tuesday, Uvalde resident Salvador Ramos opened fire at Robb Elementary School at about 11:30 a.m. The children killed were in the second, third and fourth grades, police said during a press conference later that day.
While the shooter was inside a classroom, approximately 20 officers waited in a hallway for more than 45 minutes, Col. Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a Friday press conference, during which he admitted that law enforcement made the wrong decision.
McCraw said that the commander on the scene believed that the gunman had barricaded himself into an empty classroom, and that no children were at risk.
The officers finally engaged with the gunman after Border Patrol agents used a master key to open the door. Ramos was killed by police, it’s believed.
By that time, 21 victims were dead.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision,” McCraw said of the delay in entering the classroom. “It was a wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that. We believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can. When there’s an active shooter, the rules change.”
Outside the school while the violence unfolded, family members begged police to take action — and some of them tried to take matters into their own hands to save their children. Many relatives believe that the police hesitation cost lives.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Abbott told news media, “The reality is, as horrible as what happened, it could’ve been worse. The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do. They showed amazing courage by running toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives. It is a fact that because of their quick response, getting on the scene, being able to respond to the gunman, and eliminate the gunman, they were able to save lives. Unfortunately, not enough.”
On Friday, the governor said he was repeating information that was inaccurate.
“I was misled,” said Abbott, 64, at another press conference. “I am livid about what happened.”
“I was on this very stage two days ago, and I was telling the public information that had been told to me in a room just a few yards behind where we’re looking at right now,” he continued. “I wrote down hand notes in detail about what everybody in that room told me in sequential order. As everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate. And I’m absolutely livid about that.”
Shortly before Gov. Abbott arrived at the scene on Sunday, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden arrived in Uvalde, Texas, to pay their respects to the victims and to soothe the grieving community.
Gov. Abbott, Texas’ First Lady Cecilia Abbott, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, Rep. Tony Gonzales and Judge Bill Mitchell all welcomed the president and his wife in Uvalde.
The Bidens also met with Dr. Hal Harrell, the Uvalde County Independent School District superintendent, and Mandy Gutierrez, the principal of Robb Elementary School, where they visited the memorial for the victims.
President Biden was seen wiping away a tear while paying respects.
After laying flowers at the front of the school, the Bidens met with others involved in the school shooting massacre, including the families of the victims, survivors, and first responders, according to CBS News.
The president and first lady later attended mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where they were greeted by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller.
The visit from the Bidens comes on the heels of an announcement from The Justice Department that it will conduct a review of the police response to the mass shooting at the request of Mayor McLaughlin.
“The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events. The review will be conducted with the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley issued in a statement on Sunday.
“As with prior Justice Department after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent. The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review,” the statement continued.
That man should be booed every where he goes from until he departs this earth.
— Jia Chen (@jiawenc17) May 29, 2022