Uvalde Texas school shooting: Official says it was ‘wrong decision’ not to enter classroom as parents demand answers on response

UVALDE, Texas – A Texas official has admitted that law enforcement made the “wrong decision” in responding to a shooting at Rob Elementary School, failing to disrupt order for 35 minutes as an 18-year-old gunman terrorized children inside.

At a news conference Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCrow acknowledged that police officers at the scene in the small rural town of Uvalde on Tuesday miscalculated what was going on.

“It was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period … We think there should have been an entry. We do not have time,” he said.

The kids were in Rob Elementary School class with him, calling 911, McCraw said in a news conference Friday. When a regular U.S. Border Patrol arrived and killed the alleged gunman, identified as Salvador Ramos, 19 children and two teachers were killed, several others were seriously injured and others survived to narrate the nightmare.

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Authorities say he allegedly bought two assault rifles a few days after he turned 18 and used them to carry out the second worst school shooting in U.S. history, according to authorities.

What do we know about the police response?

Relatives of the victims and neighbors of Ovalde Rob Elementary School raise questions about how police officers who arrived first at the scene handled the situation – including whether they attended their own training.

Officials said around 11:28 a.m., the suspect crashed his grandmother’s car into the perimeter of the school, pulled out an AR rifle and a backpack full of ammunition, and fired at two nearby witnesses as he headed toward the school. Before reaching the school, the suspect allegedly shot his grandmother as well, officials said.

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Officials said Thursday that police did not confront the gunman before he entered the school, despite earlier reports that a school district police officer had confronted the gunman.

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At 11:33 a.m., shortly after the gunman entered the school through a door that was open, he entered two classrooms and fired at least 100 bullets, McCraw said. Within minutes, seven Ovalde police officers were inside the school and two were grazing on bullets, McCraw said.

A regular team from the Customs and Border Protection was on the scene at 12:15 pm, but did not break the order until 12:50 pm. – after a janitor gave the keys to unlock the door, said McCroe.

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The incident commander believed it had to do with an issue with roadblocks inside the school and the children were not in danger, McCraw said.

On Tuesday, a DPS spokesman, Lieutenant Chris Olivarez, told national television that sometime on Tuesday, police on the scene decided to “focus” on evacuating students and teachers “around the school” instead of fighting for the location of the shooter. – although they heard more shots.

Videos posted on the internet show angry parents outside the school, calling on police to take more action.

MORE: Spectators ask police to raid Texas school after shooting begins, eyewitnesses say

Those in a class with the shooter made many calls to the 911 as the tactical unit waited 35 minutes outside.

Robb Elementary School survivor Samuel Salinas, 10, recounted the horror at Good Morning America, saying the gunman entered his classroom, closed the door and told them, “You will all die,” before opening fire. .

“He shot the teacher and then the children,” Salinas said, remembering the screams and voices of the students around him.

Salinas said he and other children pretended to be dead “so as not to shoot”.

SEE ALSO: Mass shootings in the US have nearly tripled since 2013, according to figures

A 911 call was made at 12:03 p.m. from room 112 and lasted 23 seconds. McCrow did not identify the caller. Call again at 12:10 p.m. and reported that there were many deaths in the classroom, McCraw said.

The person then called again at 12:13 p.m. and again at 12:16 p.m., when he said there were eight to nine students still alive, McCraw said. A call was made from someone else in Room 111 at 12:19 p.m., the caller hung up when another student told her to hang up, McCraw said.

At 12:21 pm, three shots were fired after a 911 call. At 12:36 pm, another 911 call was made by the original caller and lasted 21 seconds. The student who called said to stay on the line and be very quiet. He told 911 that the gunman shot at the door, McCraw said. About 12:43 p.m. and at 12:47 p.m., he asked 911 to send police now, McCrow said.

The answering machine said she could hear the police next to 12:46 p.m. At 12:50 pm, the regular Border Patrol unit finally broke down the door and shot the suspect.

Who are the victims?

A fourth grader, many cousins ​​and a 10-year-old boy whose family called him “the life of the party” was among the dead in the mass shooting on Tuesday, ABC News learned.

The husband of one of the teachers who was also killed died two days later of a heart attack. The couple was about to celebrate their 25th birthday.

“When parents leave their children at school, they have every expectation to know that they will be able to pick up their child when that school day is over. And there are families mourning right now,” Governor Greg Abbott told reporters. .

ABC News confirmed the identities of the following victims:

  • Eva Mireles, teacher
  • Xavier James Lopez, 10
  • Amerie Jo Garza, 10
  • Rojelio Torres, 10
  • Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
  • Jailah Nicole Silguero, 11
  • Eliahana Cruz Torres
  • Annabelle Rodriguez, 10
  • Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 10
  • Irma Garcia, teacher
  • Ouzia Garcia
  • Alithia Ramirez
  • Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
  • Eli Garcia
  • Nevaeh Bravo, 10
  • Tes Mata
  • Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
  • Layla Salazar
  • Maite Rodriguez
  • Jose Flores
  • Maranda Mathis

Who is Salvador Ramos?

Authorities shed more light on one of the suspect’s digital fingerprints in the weeks and months leading up to Tuesday’s mass shooting.

In September 2021, suspected gunman Salvador Ramos, a student at Uvalde High School, asked his sister to buy him a gun and she “categorically refused,” McCraw said.

On Feb. 28, in a group chat on Instagram with four people, they discussed “Ramos is a school shooter,” McCroe said. The next day, March 1, in an Instagram conversation with four people, Ramos discussed buying a gun, according to McCraw.

In addition, more than a dozen people told ABC News that Ramos sent them messages on several social media platforms in the days before the massacre.

Shortly before the attack, he allegedly sent a series of messages to a young girl he met on the Internet, detailing that he had shot his grandmother and was heading to school for his next target, according to messages commented by ABC News.

His mother, Adriana Reyes, told ABC News National Correspondent Matt Gattman that her son “was not a monster” but that he could “be aggressive”.

“I had an uncomfortable feeling sometimes, like ‘what are you doing?’ said Reyes. “He can be aggressive … If he was really crazy.”

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Some classmates told ABC News that Ramos was known for fighting and threatening fellow students. He was said to have been behaving more and more annoyingly for the past two years, threatening at least one of his classmates and stalking others, and claiming to have cut marks on his face.

The survivors are trying to move on

Ovalde crashes days after facing the second deadliest school attack in American history, erecting monuments throughout the community and gathering prayer. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Ovalde on Sunday to pay their respects to the victims.

While the authorities compose a motive for the shooting, the survivors try to move on.

The monument is also growing for the 21 victims whose names are now engraved on white crosses outside the school.

Upset families take on the difficult task of making arrangements for their loved ones.

The only two funeral homes in Uvalde offer free funeral services for the victims of the shootings.

Since 2013, the year after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Mass shootings in the United States – described as shootings in which at least four people have been injured or killed – have nearly tripled. Already, there have been 213 mass shootings in 2022 – a 50% increase from 141 shots in May 2017 and a 150% increase from 84 to May 2013. The graph above shows the number of shooting incidents per state. Mobile users: Click here to see the map of mass shootings in the USA by Sandy Hook.

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