The Key Differences Between Nashville and Uvalde Shooting Responses


The release of police body camera video on Tuesday from the deadly shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville the day before showed a deliberate and rapid response, one that resulted in officers shooting and killing the assailant within minutes of arriving.

It also prompted immediate comparisons to the police response to the school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last year in which more than an hour passed between the arrival of officers and when they ultimately killed the gunman.

But the situations that officers confronted upon arriving at each school were not the same.

In each instance, officers rushed to the scene and immediately entered the school building minutes after the shooting began. In both cases, the officers who were first on the scene rushed toward the location of the gunfire, based on video released from both shooting scenes.

But from that point, key differences are apparent from the available video.

In the Nashville shooting, officers found the assailant firing on the second floor in an open area, appeared to have a clear shot and fired. The assailant was killed about 14 minutes after the shooting was first reported, according to a police spokesman.

In Uvalde, officers located the classroom, where they believed the gunman had been firing, just three minutes after he entered the building, but the door was closed. They approached the door and tried to get a view of the gunman but could not. As they did so, he began firing through the closed door in their direction with an AR-15-style rifle, striking two officers with shrapnel and preventing them from seeing his position in a pair of classrooms full of students.

The officers in Uvalde fell back at that point and, as the gunfire paused, shifted tactics to begin treating the gunman as barricaded and no longer an active shooter. From there, hundreds of officers gathered at the school. The gunman was eventually killed by a small team that entered the classroom with ballistic shields.

In Uvalde, 19 children and two teachers were killed, most of them in the initial barrage of gunfire, before officers got to the door to the classrooms. Officials in Texas have said they would be looking into the response and the injuries to determine whether any victims would have survived if officers had engaged the gunman more swiftly; they have yet to release results from that inquiry.

Even in Nashville with every factor apparently working in the favor of the police — locked school doors, a fast response, a clear shot — the assailant was still able to fire on the doors to gain entry and then kill three children and three school employees before officers could end the attack.

A fuller assessment of the Uvalde school shooting has been slower in coming. Unlike in Nashville, where the police department released footage from the Monday shooting by the following day, the state police in Texas have yet to officially release video from the scene, more than 10 months after the May 24 shooting.



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