Uvalde Police Held Active Shooter Training Weeks Before School Shooting

Police in Uvalde, Texas took part in training to respond to active shooter incidents just nine weeks before the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School this week.

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) Police Department hosted an active shooter course at Uvalde High School on March 21 that covered topics including "unified response," "stop the killing" and "stop the dying."

The Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC) Law Enforcement Academy shared information about the training event on its Facebook page on March 1 and encouraged online registrations.

A pamphlet for the event said it would last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the training was intended for "Peace Officers, School Resource Officers (SROs) and campus security officers."

SWTJC Law Enforcement Academy's March 1 Facebook post has garnered renewed attention following the shooting at Robb Elementary as police have been sharply criticized for their response to the attack in which 19 children and two teachers were killed.

Stephen Gutowksi, a firearms reporter and founder of The Reload, highlighted the event on Twitter on Friday and also noted another Facebook post from the academy that said the class was fully booked.

"The next day they posted the class was full. There don't appear to be any other updates about the training posted on the Southwest Texas Junior College Law Enforcement Academy Facebook page," Gutowski wrote.

On March 22, UCISD Police Department shared information about the event on its Facebook page.

"On Monday the UCISD Police Department hosted an 'Active Shooter Training' at the Uvalde High School," the post said. "Our overall goal is to train every Uvalde area law enforcement officer so that we can prepare as best as possible for any situation that may arise."

"We have hosted several of these courses and plan to continue to do so," the post went on, and thanked those who were involved in the training "for supporting our plans to keep our children and staff safe."

The police department included some photos of the training session and had advertised the free event on Facebook on March 2.

It is not clear how many officers attended the event but news of the training course is likely to raise more questions about local law enforcement's handling of the May 24 shooting.

There has been widespread anger at the law enforcement response amid contradictory information from the authorities and the failure of police to enter the school and confront the shooter for more than 40 minutes.

On Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said that the on-site commander had made the "wrong decision" in delaying to breach the classroom where the alleged shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was holed up.

"He was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize," McCraw said at a press conference.

"Of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision," he said.

Authorities had previously said that the shooter was confronted by a resource officer before entering the school but it later emerged that that information was not correct.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who initially praised the law enforcement response, said at a press conference in Uvalde on Friday that he had been "misled".

"The information I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about that," Abbott said.

Newsweek has asked the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District for comment.

Highway Patrol Officers in Uvalde, Texas
Texas Highway Patrol Troopers stand at attention in front of a memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Uvalde police have been strongly criticized for their response to the shooting. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images