As Allahpundit pointed out here, when BORTAC agents showed up at Robb Elementary School Tuesday, they were told by the on scene commander not to enter the school. The NY Times reported the agents had driven from the border and showed up between noon and 12:10 pm. And we know from an earlier timeline that they finally breached the door around 12:50 pm and killed the suspect within a few minutes.
Now NBC has published a story with a small but significant update to what the Times reported earlier. It turns out the BORTAC agents who killed Ramos were never told to go inside. Instead, they got tired of waiting and simply decided on their own to go in.
According to the officials, agents from BORTAC, the Customs and Border Protection tactical unit, and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrived on the scene between noon and 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Local law enforcement asked them to wait, and then instructed HSI agents to help pull children out of the windows.
The BORTAC team, armed with tactical gear, at first did not move toward the gunman. After approximately 30 minutes passed, however, the federal agents opted of their own volition to lead the “stack” of officers inside the school and take down the shooter.
NBC also confirms that the on scene commander is the same guy I identified here. His name is Peter Arredondo and he’s the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, a police force made up of just six officers. If the DPS account of the incident is accurate (and it’s hard to trust any of the narrators at this point) then Arredondo is the person who was telling everyone else to stand down because he had determined the situation had become a barricade.
When I wrote about the DPS press conference earlier, I transcribed director Steven McGraw’s statement about what police should have done and asked some questions of my own:
“When there’s an active shooter, the rules change. It’s no longer a barricaded subject. You don’t have time. You don’t worry about outer perimeters. And by the way, Texas embraces active shooter training, active shooter certification.
“That doctrine requires officers, we don’t care what agency you’re from, you don’t have to have a leader on the scene. Every officer lines up, stacks up, goes and finds where those rounds are being fired and keeps shooting until the subject is dead. Period.”
McGraw points out that he wasn’t there. Fair enough but why didn’t anyone at the scene push to follow this advice? If this is what officers are taught to do in this situation why didn’t any of them push back on what was obviously the wrong approach?
I think we now have the answers to my questions. At least one group, the BORTAC agents, did finally decide to ignore what they’d been told (which was wrong) and do what they knew should be done. Had they not done so, this incident might have dragged on even longer. Of course it would have been better if they’d decided this sooner but they’d only been there for 30 minutes. It’s still not clear why other officers who were there from the start didn’t do something similar after spending at least that long waiting in hallway doing nothing.