Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw listens to a question from a reporter during a press conference outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27. Elias Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News/TNS

AUSTIN, Texas — Calling the police response to the Uvalde school shooting an “abject failure,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw gave a detailed report to the Texas Senate Tuesday, corroborating reports indicating that numerous police were inside the school within minutes of the first 911 calls.

Law enforcement authorities had enough officers on the scene of the massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, McCraw testified about the attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

McCraw’s testimony added withering evidence to the failed response of local police to the shooting that police experts and lawmakers have characterized as antithetical to how police should respond to an active shooter situation.

Attention continued to be focused on Uvalde Independent School District Chief Pete Arredondo, who kept police at bay for more than 70 minutes while the 18-year-old shooter remained barricaded in a classroom with children, many of whom were injured.

A detailed timeline showed the rapid arrival of police on the scene, including that many officers arrived armed with semi-automatic rifles and that some came equipped with bulletproof shields. Transcripts showed Arredondo continued to request more armed officers and mischaracterized the kind of weapons at hand as he held officers back.

And while officers were in the school, the shooter continued to fire rounds inside the classroom at least three times.

“One hour, 14 minutes and 8 seconds. You know, it’s not just a lifetime. It’s many lifetimes. It’s just we can’t have that,” McCraw said.

McCraw said the doors to the pair of classrooms where the students and teachers were killed were unlocked but never checked by police as Arredondo continued to frantically search for a skeleton key to a door that could have been opened at any time, had anyone tried it.

“The fact that the facts and mistakes were made,” McCraw said. “It should have never happened that way. ... It set our profession back a decade is what it did.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick convened the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for the Legislature to investigate the shooting. Tuesday’s meeting was the first day of a two-day hearing, and its chair, Sen. Robert Nichols, said testimony could extend to midnight.

The hearing opened with McCraw, who continued to answer questions from lawmakers as of 11:15 a.m. Nichols said Tuesday’s hearings would cover three subject areas: police training, school safety and social media.

“We do know this through compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades,” McCraw said.

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