A new report from Texas State University's Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center reveals that law enforcement in Uvalde missed three opportunities to disarm the gunman before he entered Robb Elementary and murdered nineteen children and two teachers.
ALERRT explained that at one point, an officer had the gunman in the sight of his rifle, but failed to receive authorization to shoot.
According to the report, a Uvalde PD officer saw the gunman carrying a rifle near the school and, standing 148 yards away, set his sights on him. He then asked his supervisor for permission to fire.
"The UPD officer did not hear a response and turned to get confirmation from his supervisor," the report stated. "When he turned back to address the suspect, the suspect had already entered the west hall exterior door at 11:33:00."
ALERRT lamented the officer's decision, explaining that he "was justified in using deadly force to stop the attacker," in accordance with Texas Penal Code § 9.32. The law states that "an individual is justified in using deadly force when the individual reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary to prevent the commission of murder (amongst other crimes)."
The report suggests that "a reasonable officer" would, after hearing gunshots or reports thereof, and seeing a man with a rifle approaching the school "conclude in this case, based upon the totality of the circumstances, that use of deadly force was warranted."
The 148 yard distance is "well within the effective range" of the officer's AR-15, however state standards do not require law enforcement to fire their weapons if the target is over 100 yards away.
According to the report, the officer said that he was "concerned that if he missed his shot, the rounds could have penetrated the school and injured students."
"Ultimately, the decision to use deadly force always lies with the officer who will use the force," ALERRT said. "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."
Law enforcement's response to the Uvalde massacre has been widely criticized as more and more information comes to light, with many saying children could have been saved had they acted faster.