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Uvalde mayor disputes report that police missed opportunity to shoot gunman

We’re still arguing over the basic facts of this tragedy.

Uvalde’s mayor on Friday denied a recent report that said a city police officer had an opportunity to shoot the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers inside Robb Elementary School last month before the gunman entered the school building.

In a written statement, Mayor Don McLaughlin said that no Uvalde police officer saw the shooter before he entered the school and “no Uvalde police officers had any opportunity to take a shot at the gunman.”

“A Uvalde Police Department officer saw someone outside but was unsure of who he saw and observed children in the area as well,” McLaughlin said. “Ultimately, it was a coach with children on the playground, not the shooter.”

McLaughlin’s comments come two days after the release of a report analyzing the law enforcement response to the shooting. The report by staff at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University in San Marcos said a Uvalde police officer had the gunman in his crosshairs and asked a supervisor for permission to shoot — but the supervisor did not hear the request or responded too late.

ALERRT, created in 2002 to address the need for active-shooter response training for first responders, based its report on an hourlong briefing on June 1 by an investigating officer “with knowledge of the event and investigative details,” the report said. Pete J. Blair, the executive director of ALERRT, told the Tribune in a written statement that the officer was a Texas Ranger.

The report said that the Texas Department of Public Safety reached out to ALERRT soon after the attack “to assess the law enforcement response” and ALERRT staff also reviewed surveillance footage from the school, Google Maps, police body cameras and a brief cellphone video.

Blair said that “ALERRT has not received any information that contradicts what is stated in the report. This is the only officer that we have identified as potentially being able to shoot the attacker before he entered the building.”

Blair also pointed to a finding in the report that says, “Ultimately, the decision to use deadly force always lies with the officer who will use the force. If the officer was not confident that he could both hit his target and of his backdrop if he missed, he should not have fired.”

See here for some background, and this Scott Braddock tweet for a copy of the statement. I’d never heard of ALERRT before this report came out so I don’t know how to evaluate their credibility, but if the source of their information was DPS, well, their credibility ain’t so great on this. Uvalde Mayor McLaughlin certainly has his beef with them. I don’t have any insights to provide here. I just sure would like for all the available relevant information about this massacre to be released to the public so we can all get a better idea of what the truth is, and who has or has not been telling it to us.

I really don’t think that’s too much to ask. You know who could go a long way towards making this happen? Greg Abbott. At the very least, he could state it as a goal, and repeat it as often as necessary. We both know he’s not going to do that.

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