UPDATE: Texas DPS Director Escalon confirmed at 1:38 PM CT that the shooter walked into the building unobstructed and was not confronted by a school police officer as was erroneously reported earlier by several sources. See the video below. The title has been updated to reflect the change in timeline from officials.
Salvador Ramos, the Uvalde, Texas, school shooter, that massacred 19 children and two teachers was left alone in the classroom full of children for “30 minutes” before he was engaged by breaching law enforcement officers and killed. Many people are asking why this happened and what the actual timeline of the shooting was that led to the deaths of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
According to the Associated Press, distraught onlookers and parents yelled at the police to go into the building, but were ignored.
“Go in there! Go in there!” women shouted at the police when the attack began, said Juan Carranza, 24, who was watching it from his house across the street from the school. He told the AP that officers did not enter the building.
The gunman allegedly entered the building by the back entrance and was not engaged by a police officer. Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzalez told this to Jake Tapper on Wednesday on his show “The Lead.” The gunman was then corralled into the classroom by an officer on scene. There was a short firefight through the room’s door that did then happen. After this, Ramos entered the classroom and began murdering people. This turns out not to have been true per state officials.
The interview below with Tapper makes a lot of the on the scene details more clear.
The officer that had exchanged fire with the shooter was then injured, according to reports from Gonzales. The shooter barricaded himself inside the classroom he had initially entered where there was a “30 minute lull,” as described Gonzalez.
The shooter was in the classroom for a total of one-hour and was thankfully killed by a border patrol agent who infiltrated the classroom, but he had more than enough time to inflict heavy casualties.
The AP also reported that police struggled to enter the classroom because they had to ask school staff to open it with a key, according to a law enforcement official that was not authorized to speak on the investigation.
There are several contradictory statements about how long the shooting lasted from law enforcement.
It is not clear either whether law enforcement shot at the gunman when he crashed in a ditch before running to the school, according to the New York Times.
There are multiple reports that seem to back up that the gunman was in the school for an hour and in the classroom un-challenged for around 30-minutes, though.
CNN’s Ed Lavandera said that Ramos shot most of the victims 40 to 60 minutes before he was neutralized by border patrol. The reporter also confirmed that Ramos was confronted by a “school campus officer” outside the building but there were no bullets “fired at that moment.”
In the AP report, one witness, Javier Cazares, told onlookers that they should breach the school themselves.
“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he said. “More could have been done. They were unprepared,” he said.
Cazares told AP that he heard about the shooting and was even able to arrive at the scene while it was still happening and saw police outside the building waiting. His daughter was killed by Ramos. She was in 4th grade.
There was a conflicting account of the initial gunfight by Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine. He’s the one that said that law enforcement did engage the shooter outside the building and inside the building and that these officers were injured, reported the AP.
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told reporters that 40 minutes to an hour had gone by between the time that Ramos engaged with a school security officer and when he was killed. The department could not confirm the time, though.
“The bottom line is law enforcement was there,” McCraw said. “They did engage immediately. They did contain (Ramos) in the classroom.”
If the AP report is true, do you think officers responded quick enough to prevent deaths from happening?