The investigation into the shocking school shooting in Uvalde (Texas) has been centered on the actions, or more importantly, inaction, of the school district police chief and other law-enforcement officers.
If the shooter was not confronted within an hour, it could result in discipline, lawsuits or even criminal charges against the police.
The fourth-grade attack that killed 19 children and two teachers was the deadliest school shooting in almost a decade. For three days, police presented a confusing timeline that frustrated and angered the public.
Authorities acknowledged Friday that teachers and students repeatedly called 911 for help, while the chief of police told over a dozen officers to stay in a corridor at Robb Elementary School. Officials claimed that the suspect was believed to be in a barricaded area of adjoining classrooms, and that there was no active attack.
Questions have been raised about the chief's decision and officers' willingness to follow his instructions against active-shooter protocols.
Joe Giacalone (retired New York police sergeant) said that "In these cases I think the courtof public opinion is far worse than any Court of Law or Police Department Administrative Trial." "This case has been handled so badly on so many levels that there will be a sacrifice lamb here and there."
Two law enforcement officers said that as the gunman opened fire on students, other law enforcement officers urged the school chief to allow them in, because children were in danger.
Because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, officials spoke under condition of anonymity.
According to one of the officials, audio recordings were made from the scene and captured officers from other agencies telling the school chief that the shooter was still active. It was their priority to stop him. It was not clear why the school chief didn't heed their warnings.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Governor, praised the police for saving lives at a news conference earlier this week and promised that there would be investigations into "exactly" who knew what, when and who was in charge and what they did.
Abbott stated, "The bottom line would have to be: Why didn't they choose the strategy that would most effectively get there and eliminate the killer and rescue the children?"
In school shootings, criminal charges against law enforcement officers are rare. One notable exception was the ex-school resource officer who was accused of hiding during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida that resulted in 17 deaths. Paul Martin, a New York City defense lawyer, and Chuck Wexler (executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, Washington), both claimed Saturday that they do not know of any other officers who were criminally charged with failing to act during a mass shooting.