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“Contained”

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It’s tragic that the people trapped in Room 112 had someone with this combination of incompetence and cowardice responsible for protecting them:

Two minutes after a gunman burst through an unlocked door at Robb Elementary School and began shooting inside a pair of connected classrooms, Pete Arredondo arrived outside, one of the first police officers to reach the scene.

The gunman could still be heard firing repeatedly, and Mr. Arredondo, as chief of the small school district police force in Uvalde, took charge.

But there were problems from the start.

Chief Arredondo did not have a police radio with him, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation, which may have impeded his immediate ability to communicate with police dispatchers. As two supervisors from the local police department were grazed by bullets fired by the gunman, he made a decision to fall back, the official said.

Using a cellphone, the chief called a police land line with a message that set the stage for what would prove to be a disastrous delay in interrupting the attack: The gunman has an AR-15, he told them, but he is contained; we need more firepower and we need the building surrounded.

Rather than confront an actively shooting gunman immediately, as officers have been trained to do since the killings at Columbine High School in 1999, the ever-growing force of increasingly armed officers arriving at Robb Elementary held back for more than an hour.

“We need to do nothing under we get backup. And even after we get backup, we should still do nothing.” Imagine this level of indifference to children getting killed on the other side of a wall. And, to the very end, they were ordering the law enforcement officers who actually wanted to stop the ongoing murder of children to be as chickenshit as they were:

They were done waiting for permission, one of them said, according to the person, before they moved toward the classroom where the gunman waited. They continued even after one of them heard a command crackling in his ear piece: Do not breach.

Whether there is criminal liability here I don’t know, but the level of moral liability for Arredondo and everyone who agreed with his decision to do nothing is “felony murder.”

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