Update (1630ET): The gunman who massacred 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas lingered outside for 12 minutes firing shots at people in a funeral home across the street, before scaling a fence onto school grounds where he fired more shots. He then entered the school and barricading himself in a classroom before opening fire, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Victor Escalon, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said he couldn’t say why no one stopped the deceased gunman, 18 year-old Salvador Ramos, from entering the school during that time Tuesday. Most of the shots Ramos fired came during the first several minutes when he entered the school, Mr. Escalon said.
DPS officials previously said an armed school officer confronted Ramos as he arrived at the school. Mr. Escalon said Thursday that information was incorrect and no one encountered Ramos as he arrived at the school. “There was not an officer readily available and armed,” Mr. Escalon said. -WSJ
Ramos began Tuesday morning shooting his grandmother in the face, then using her truck to drive to the school – crashing it into a ditch at around 11:28 am according to a timeline laid out by Escalon.
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Texas law enforcement officials ignored pleas from distraught parents as a gunman was left alone for up to an hour at a Texas elementary school – killing 19 children and two teachers, before a Border Patrol agent charged into the school and killed the suspect.
“Go in there! Go in there!” women shouted at the police soon after the attack began, according to neighbor Juan Carranza, who told the Associated Press about the parents’ efforts to get the police to confront the shooter. Carranza said the officers did not go in.
Minutes earlier, Carranza had watched as Salvador Ramos crashed his truck into a ditch outside the school, grabbed his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and shot at two people outside a nearby funeral home who ran away uninjured.
Officials say he “encountered” a school district security officer outside the school, though there were conflicting reports from authorities on whether the men exchanged gunfire. After running inside, he fired on two arriving Uvalde police officers who were outside the building, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine. The police officers were injured. –RealClear Politics
One parent, Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grade daughter Jacklyn was killed in the attack, said he raced to the school when he heard about the shooting, only to find that police weren’t moving in.
“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he said, adding “More could have been done.”
“There were five or six of [us] fathers, hearing the gunshots, and [police officers] were telling us to move back,” he told the Washington Post. “We didn’t care about us. We wanted to storm the building. We were saying, ‘Let’s go’ because that is how worried we were, and we wanted to get our babies out.”
One clip shows officers tackling parents outside the school to prevent them from rushing in. However, the precise timeline of the below videos compared to what was happening inside the school remains unclear…
That said, it now appears as if several cops may have entered the school to save their own children while the shooting was unfolding and the parents were being held back.
After Ramos entered the school, he charged into one classroom and began to open fire. According to Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety, he “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom.”
According to Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, it took between 40 minutes and 1 hour from when Ramos began opening fire to when the CBP agent, backed by his tactical team, shot him.
Two Uvalde police officers were among the first on the scene – engaging the shooter after he had entered the building when they were both shot and injured.
“When the cops came, the cop said: ‘Yell if you need help!’ And one of the persons in my class said ‘help.’ The [shooter] overheard and he came in and shot her,” a boy who hid under a table in his classroom told KENS5 news. “The cop barged into that classroom. The guy shot at the cop. And the cops started shooting.”
Of note, in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, police waited outside the school and didn’t enter until almost two hours after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold started shooting—and an hour after they’d committed suicide. In the meantime, they killed a dozen students and a teacher.
Columbine shocked the nation and marked a shift in tactical philosophy: Police officers are now expected to enter buildings with active shooters as rapidly as possible, regardless of their equipment or training.
As a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department briefing on the topic explains, “Officers realize and accept the dangers, they also realize if they do nothing, more people will die or be injured than if they had taken action.”