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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
PA Images Tributes outside the school
Robb Elementary

Uvalde school where mass shooting took place to be demolished

Meanwhile US senators have reached an agreement on a bipartisan gun violence bill.

LAST UPDATE | Jun 22nd 2022, 8:00 AM

UVALDE MAYOR DON McLaughlin has said Robb Elementary, the school where 21 people died in a shooting in May, will be demolished.

McLaughlin made the announcement during a City Council meeting last night, saying he spoke with Uvalde Superintendent Dr Hal Harrell and it was his “understanding” that the school will be demolished.

The mayor did not specify when this would happen, CBS News is reporting.

Nineteen students and two teachers were killed inside Robb Elementary on 24 May.

‘Abject failure’

The law enforcement response to the tragedy was an “abject failure”, the head of the Texas state police has said, telling politicians that there were enough officers and firepower on the scene to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building.

Col Steve McCraw also said officers would have found the door to the classroom where the assailant was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to check it.

Instead, police with rifles stood in a hallway for over an hour, waiting in part for more weapons and gear, before they finally stormed the classroom and killed the gunman, putting an end to the May 24 attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

texas-school-shooting AP / PA Images Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw uses maps and graphics to present a timeline of the school shooting at Robb Elementary School AP / PA Images / PA Images

Two of the officers who went into the hallway early on were grazed by gunfire.

The decision by police to hold back went against much of what law enforcement has learned in the two decades since the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in which 13 people were killed in 1999, Mr McCraw said.

“You don’t wait for a Swat team. You have one officer, that’s enough,” he said.

He also said officers did not need to wait for shields to enter the classroom.

The first shield arrived less than 20 minutes after the shooter entered, according to Mr McCraw.

Eight minutes after the shooter entered, an officer reported that police had a heavy-duty crowbar that they could use to break down the classroom door, Mr McCraw said.

The public safety chief spent nearly five hours offering the clearest picture yet of the massacre, outlining a series of other missed opportunities, communication breakdowns and errors based on an investigation that has included roughly 700 interviews.

embedded267532263 Eric Gay / AP A section of a classroom door from Robb Elementary School Eric Gay / AP / AP

Bipartisan agreement

It come as US Senate bargain makers reached agreement on a bipartisan gun violence bill.

The move potentially tees up congressional passage this week on an incremental but notable package that would stand as Congress’s response to mass shootings in Uvalde and New York that shook the nation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, predicted Senate approval later this week with passage by the Democratic-led House potentially quickly following.

It would make background checks tougher for the youngest gun buyers and bolster spending for school safety and mental health programmes, and bar gun ownership by romantic partners convicted of domestic abuse.

Politicians released the 80-page bill nine days after agreeing to a framework for the plan and 29 years after Congress last enacted major firearms curbs.

It cleared an initial procedural hurdle by 64-34, with 14 Republicans joining all 48 Democrats and two allied independents in voting yes.

Though Republicans blocked tougher restrictions sought by Democrats, the accord marks an election-year breakthrough on an issue that pits the GOP’s staunch gun-owning and rural voters against Democrats’ urban-centred backers of firearms curbs.

That makes it one of the most incendiary culture war battlefields in politics and a sensitive vote for some lawmakers, particularly Republicans who might alienate Second Amendment stalwarts.

Momentum in Congress for gun legislation has a history of waning quickly after mass shootings. Lawmakers are scheduled to begin a two-week break by this weekend.

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