Following Tuesday's mass shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead at a Texas elementary school and scrutiny of the police response, Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg wrote a message to residents, explaining what steps would be taken if an "active threat" were to occur in Lake County.
Police admitted to a stunning string of failures Friday — including driving right by the gunman — in responding to the shooting following days of confusion, scrutiny and a muddled timeline of the law enforcement response. Police waited approximately 40 minutes before entering the school, as the school district's police chief believed there wasn't an active threat, said Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.
Entry wasn't made until federal agents decided to ignore the initial guidance about a half hour after they arrived and proceeded to search for the shooter, two law enforcement sources told NBC News.
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In a statement posted to Facebook, Idleburg explained the Lake County Sheriff's Office has received many questions about how deputies would response to an active shooter situation in light of information revealed about the Texas shooting. The sheriff emphasized facts of the response continue to be released, and while not jumping to conclusions, he wants the community to know that during an active threat "our deputies are trained to immediately respond to the threat and take whatever actions are necessary to protect life."
"Our deputies have the full authority to move immediately into the scene and utilize their training to do what is necessary," he added. "They train frequently, have the tools necessary to enter buildings in order to protect life, and understand their tremendous responsibility."
Addressing the delay in breaching the classroom where the shooter was, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said that “from the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that.”
Texas law enforcement officials have been under intense scrutiny for their handling of the attack after it was revealed that it took over an hour to stop the shooter.