UVALDE, TX – The community of Uvalde, Texas is in shock after a deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School left 19 students and two teachers dead.
Texas Governor Gret Abbott is scheduled to speak Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET regarding the shooting.
It was recently revealed that nearly 20 officers waited in a hallway for more than 45 minutes as students trapped in a classroom with the shooter called 911 and asked for help.
Watch the press conference live in the video player below.
Police waited 48 minutes at school before pursuing shooter
By JIM VERTUNO and ELLIOT SPAGAT with The Associated Press
UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Students trapped in a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during this week’s attack on a Texas elementary school, including one who pleaded: ‘Please send the police now,” as nearly 20 officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes, authorities said. Friday.
The commander at the scene in Uvalde – the school district’s police chief – believed that 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos was barricaded in classrooms adjacent to Robb Elementary School and that the children were no longer in danger, Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a controversial press conference.
“It was the wrong decision,” he said.
Friday’s briefing came after authorities spent three days providing often conflicting and incomplete information about the 90 minutes that elapsed between the time Ramos entered the school and the time US agents Border Patrol unlocked the classroom door and killed him.
Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers, but his motive remains unclear, authorities said.
There was a barrage of gunfire shortly after Ramos entered the classroom where officers eventually killed him, but those gunfire were ‘sporadic’ for much of the 48 minutes in which officers waited in the hallway, McCraw said. He said investigators don’t know if or how many children died during that time.
Throughout the attack, teachers and children repeatedly called 911 for help, including one girl who pleaded, “Please send the police now,” said McCraw.
Questions have arisen about how long it took officers to enter the school to confront the shooter.
It was 11:28 a.m. Tuesday when Ramos’ Ford pickup slammed into a ditch behind the low-slung Texas schoolhouse and the driver jumped out with an AR-15-style rifle.
Five minutes later, authorities say, Ramos walked into the school and found himself in the fourth grade classroom where he killed all 21 victims.
But it wasn’t until 12:58 p.m. that law enforcement radio conversations announced that Ramos had been killed and the siege was over.
What happened during those 90 minutes, in a working-class neighborhood near the outskirts of the town of Uvalde, has fueled growing public anger and scrutiny of law enforcement’s response to the rampage of tuesday.
“They say they rushed,” said Javier Cazares, whose fourth grade daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, and who ran towards the school as the massacre unfolded. unfolded. “We haven’t seen that.”
According to the new timeline provided by McCraw, after crashing his truck, Ramos shot two people exiting a nearby funeral home, officials said.
Contrary to earlier statements by officials, a school district police officer was not inside the school when Ramos arrived. When that officer responded, he unknowingly walked past Ramos, who was crouching behind a car parked outside and firing into the building, McCraw said.
At 11:33 p.m., Ramos entered the school through a back door that had been propped open and fired more than 100 rounds into two classrooms, McCraw said.
DPS spokesman Travis Considine said investigators have not determined why the door was left open.
Two minutes later, three local police arrived and entered the building through the same door, followed soon after by four more, McCraw said. Within 15 minutes, as many as 19 officers from different agencies had gathered in the hallway, taking sporadic fire from Ramos, who was locked in a classroom.
Ramos was still inside at 12:10 p.m. when first deputies from the US Marshals Service arrived. They had run nearly 113 kilometers to school in the border town of Del Rio, the agency said in a tweet on Friday.
But the police commander inside the building decided the group should wait to confront the shooter, believing the scene was no longer an active attack, McCraw said.
The crisis ended after a group of Border Patrol tactical officers entered the school at 12:45 a.m., Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Travis Considine said. They engaged in a shootout with the shooter, who was locked in the fourth grade classroom. Moments before 1 p.m., he was dead.
Ken Trump, president of consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services, said the length of the delay raises questions.
“Based on best practice, it’s very difficult to understand why there were delays, especially when you go into reports of 40 minutes and more to neutralize this shooter,” he said.
The motive for the massacre – the deadliest school shooting in the country since Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago – remains under investigation, with authorities saying Ramos had no criminal history or of known mental health.
During the siege, frustrated onlookers urged police to charge into the school, witnesses said.
” Go for it ! Go for it ! women yelled at officers shortly after the attack began, said Juan Carranza, 24, who observed the scene from outside a house across the street.
Carranza said the officers should have entered the school earlier: “There were more of them. There was only one of him.
Cazares said when he arrived he saw two officers outside the school and about five others escorting students out of the building. But 15 or 20 minutes passed before officers arrived with shields, equipped to confront the shooter, he said.
As more parents flocked to the school, he and others urged police to act, Cazares said. He heard about four shots before he and the others were ordered back to a parking lot.
“A lot of us were arguing with the police, ‘You all have to go. You all have to do your job. Their response was, ‘We can’t do our job because you’re interfering,'” Cazares said.
Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Havens International, which works to make schools safer, warned that it is difficult to get the facts right soon after a shooting.
“The information we have a few weeks after an event is usually very different from what we get the first day or two. And even that is usually pretty inaccurate,” Dorn said. For catastrophic events, “you usually have eight to 12 months before I really have a decent image.”
This story has been corrected to reflect that authorities say five minutes, not 12, elapsed between the time Ramos’ truck crashed and his entry into the school.
Associated Press reporter Jake Bleiberg contributed from Dallas.
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