The Uvalde, Texas school shooter was able to march into the school unobstructed through a door that had been propped open by a teacher before he fired more than 100 rounds in the attack, officials said Friday.
The teacher propped the door at 11:27 a.m. a minute before 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos crashed his car into a ditch near the Robb Elementary School Tuesday.
Authorities are scrambling to explain why it took an hour to take out Ramos, whose rampage at Robb Elementary School Tuesday left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Officials now say that the on-scene commander believed the situation had gone from an active shooter situation to a barricaded suspect situation, Col. Steven McCraw, director Texas Department of Public Safety said in a briefing Friday.
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News conference video, tweets and original story are below.
NEW: Texas DPS director criticizes local police decision to not breach classroom at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde during the mass shooting.
“There was no excuse for that, it was the wrong decision,” he says.
Said on scene commander decided to treat as a barricade. @FoxNews
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) May 27, 2022
Questions about police tactics continue to rise; timeline news conference expected today
A Texas congressman has called for an investigation into police response to the Uvalde school mass shooting, and experts have started to question the tactics used by first responders to subdue the gunman.
Nineteen students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School were killed Tuesday, with several children wounded by bullets.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray, asking him to probe the timeline the Texas Department of Public Safety is providing.
“The people of Uvalde, of Texas, and of the nation deserve an accurate account of what transpired,” Castro wrote to Wray. “However, state officials have provided conflicting accounts that are at odds with those provided by witnesses.
“I urge the FBI to use its maximum authority to thoroughly examine the timeline of events and the law enforcement response and to produce a full, timely and transparent report on your findings.”
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he will return to Uvalde and skip the National Rifle Association convention that begins today in Houston. Abbott recorded a message for the NRA that will be played at the gathering.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, also dropped out of the convention. Former President Donald Trump, along with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem have kept their speaking engagements at the convention.
Meanwhile, public safety officials have a barrage of questions related to police tactics and what some criticized as a delay in dealing with the active shooter.
Texas’s DPS said troopers arrived 4 minutes after the initial report at the school, but pulled back when the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, fired on them. It took an hour before backup arrived and killed the shooter.
“They don’t make entry initially because of the gunfire they’re receiving,” said Victor Escalon, DPS South Texas regional director.
“But we have officers calling for additional resources, everybody that’s in the area, tactical teams: We need equipment, we need specialty equipment, we need body armor, we need precision riflemen, negotiators.”
Escalon then contradicted an earlier report by his office that a resource officer “engaged” Ramos before he entered the building. Law enforcement officials initially said at that time, Ramos dropped a bag of ammunition and still managed to get into the building.
“He walked in unobstructed initially,” Escalon said Wednesday. “So, from the grandmother’s house to the [ditch], to the school, into the school, he was not confronted by anybody.”
Sean Burke, president of the School Safety Advocacy Council and former law enforcement officer, said the waiting for backup tactic is a long-outdated model in school shootings that changed after Colorado’s 1999 Columbine school shooting.
Burke said initial officers should have used tactics to distract the shooter to buy time for the backup to arrive instead of inaction that allows the shooting to continue his rampage.
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