President Joe Biden has so far refused to publicly question the police response to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, as questions about how law enforcement handled the incident have been raised, while Fox News hosts have been particularly critical.
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked directly if the president believes an investigation into the police response to the shooting should be conducted, and she appeared to hedge in response.
“As you all know, the president has the utmost respect for the men and women of law enforcement,” Jean-Pierre said. “Just days ago, he paid tribute to the memory of former Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter, who was killed bravely while attempting to stop the shooter at the supermarket.”
“I know that authorities are currently working to piece together more details of what happened in Uvalde, so we won’t prejudge the results from here,” she said.
Those remarks contrast sharply with harsh criticism from Fox News personalities Tucker Carlson and Jesse Watters, both of whom highlighted confusion surrounding the shooting’s events and inconsistencies in information provided by law enforcement.
The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde killed 19 children and two adults, while the alleged shooter was killed by law enforcement on the scene.
On his Thursday show, Carlson mentioned that authorities initially stated that a school resource officer had engaged with the shooter before he entered the school, but a Texas Department of Public Safety official later stated that this was not the case.
“Was there a school resource officer present when the gunman opened fire?” Carlson inquired. “That is not something you would expect. That either happened or it didn’t, and you’d know right away if it did or not. It didn’t happen, but they claimed it did. That is a fabrication. Why did they tell lies?”
“Police stated that officers went inside the school for four minutes after the suspect, but then they retreated outside the school, and police did not reenter the school for another hour,” he continued. “They say they were waiting for backup during that time, including, for some reason, multiple crisis negotiators.”
“There’s only so much B.S. you can take in the face of a tragedy like this,” Carlson said. “Were we expecting specialized equipment? You have an 18-year-old with a firearm killing small children. What kind of specialized equipment do you require? Negotiators? Really? While children are being killed?”
Following a press conference, the Texas Department of Public Safety “ended up leaving us with more questions than answers,” Watters said on Thursday.
He cited reports that police refused to let parents into the school and used pepper spray on one parent and a taser on another.
“It’s been more than 48 hours since this horrific shooting occurred, and we definitely have more questions than answers,” Watters said. “I have the impression that we are not getting the full story here. Everyone involved, including law enforcement, needs to be more forthright. We need to know what happened because it appears that a lot of things went wrong.” Outraged citizens have taken to social media to vent their rage at the Uvalde Police Department after the timeline of the officers’ response to the deadly shooting revealed gaps and unexplained delays.
There has been no investigation into how the police handled the shooting in Uvalde. On Thursday, Jean-Pierre stated that it is “always a good idea to look back and try to find any lessons we can learn” from tragedies in order to “prevent them from moving forward, including law enforcement response.”