Here’s the nub of where the mistake was made: If the shooter was in that classroom by himself, then the police in the hall would have been right, and the situation would have gone from active shooter to barricaded suspect (which you treat differently than active shooter)… and their actions (including keeping the parents out) would have been the correct ones. It’s the fact that kids were in the classroom with the shooter that made it remain active shooter and not barricaded suspect. If/when the police heard a shot from inside the classroom, or had ANY other indication there were kids in there, they should have immediately stormed it.
The question comes down to: Did the police know or suspect there were kids in the classroom with the shooter? That is what subsequent inquiries will be trying to determine. Logic says they should have known... but we'll have to have the inquiry to get the whole story.
As for keeping the parents out: That was appropriate. Letting them go in would have only likely resulted in dead parents and/or parents getting in the way of the police engaging the shooter. As it was, a couple of police were wounded engaging the shooter. If parents had gone in and been shot, people would be outraged that police let the parents go into the middle of it all. That situation is going to be a PR no-win for the cops, but keeping the parents out while police were in the building engaging the shooter was necessary and appropriate.
It all really comes down to did they know or suspect kids were in that classroom. And if they did, then the decision to keep him pinned and not assault him was the wrong one.
Another aspect of this whole thing is what it appears to me was the abuse, rather than use, of the ICS (Incident Command System) during this incident. For those who don't know, the ICS is a system that has been in effect across the country for a couple of decades now, and it's purpose is to present a uniform way of dealing with a situation among multiple agencies. It provides for establishing a command post, setting up a chain of command, and making sure all agencies are on the same page as far as who's in charge, communications throughout, how gathered intel is gotten back to the people in charge, who communicates with the public and coordinates what information will be given out, how the incident is payed-for, etc, etc, etc. It is a system that is fundamentally based on essentially the same five paragraph order structure the military uses for those of you familial with the military five paragraph order.This is a very well-written and well-thought out analysis. I wish we had more like this on here!
What I would add is that situations like this are very fluid with hundreds of bits of information flowing into the "headquarters" (whatever that was).
I can't believe that the cops in the hallways could not hear children screaming, moaning, crying and calling for help. We know there were also 911 calls from inside the room.
So, whatever set of facts there were when the on-site commander first made his call to not breach . . . . those facts changed . . . BUT HIS DECISION DID NOT.
Why? Was the new info not being pushed forward to him? Was he someplace out of touch? Did he freeze? Did he not trust the new info?
The other thing I'm sure we'll eventually discover is that not all the cops could talk to each other.
It would not surprise me to eventually hear that he changed his mind and told them to breach but the message never got to the cops in the hallway.
My prediction: The big problem here will end up being COMMO.