Drip by drip, we are learning the facts about what happened in the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde when a killer barged in. He could have been stopped. Lives could have been saved. But the incompetence of the police leadership caused an unconscionable delay in stopping the killer. Well-established protocols were ignored (stop the shooter asap, even if you don’t have enough men or equipment, stop the killer). As it happened, the police in Uvalde had more men than they needed and all the equipment they needed to stop the killer. But they didn’t.

The head of the state police called the response an abject failure. The pokice had shields and weapons. They did not need a key. They stood around and waited for 77 minutes.

AUSTIN, Texas — The head of the Texas State Police offered a pointed and emphatic rebuke of the police response to a shooting last month at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, calling it “an abject failure” that ran counter to decades of training.

In his comments before a special State Senate committee in Austin, Steven McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Safety, said that just minutes after a gunman began shooting children inside a pair of connected classrooms on May 24, the police at the scene had enough firepower and protective equipment to storm the classroom.

But, he said, the on-scene commander “decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children.” Mr. McCraw, speaking forcefully, said the same commander had delayed confronting the gunman because he “waited for a key that was never needed.”

Mr. McCraw said that the doors to the classrooms could be locked only from the outside. “There’s no way to lock the door from the inside. And there’s no way for the subject to lock the door from the inside,” he said, adding that a teacher had made a request for the locks to be fixed, believing they were broken, before the shooting.

“I don’t believe, based on the information that we have right now, that that door was ever secured,” Mr. McCraw said. “The door was unsecured.”

There were so many police officers present that no one knew who was in charge. It turns out that no one was in charge.

This is an instance where the planning was wholly inadequate.

100+ men with guns were unable to stop one bad guy with a gun.

They had the guns, the shields, and overwhelming force. And for 77 minutes, they stood by.