More chilling details surrounding Tuesday’s massacre at a Texas elementary school continue to unfold. Reports indicate that responding police officers did not hurry to find the shooter out of fear of being shot.
According to Victor Escalon, the South Texas regional director for the state Department of Public Safety, the suspected 18-year-old gunman walked into Robb Elementary School on Tuesday morning, approximately 12 minutes after he crashed his grandmother’s vehicle. Once inside of the school, he opened fire and killed at least 19 students and two teachers before he was ultimately shot and killed by responding law enforcement officers.
The findings confirm that he also fired shots at people nearby and outside upon entering the school. While school district police officers arrived within four minutes of the gunman, identified as Salavador Ramos, being inside of the facility, they quickly drew back after he fired shots at them.
“They don’t make entry initially because of the gunfire they’re receiving,” said Escalon. “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.”
In a statement to the public, Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez said that his officers “responded within minutes.” It was also initially determined that Ramos had barricaded himself inside of the classroom and that they were unable to access the room.
It has since been confirmed that the on-site commander believed that the children were not at risk.
“He was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize, to get into the classroom,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said at a news conference.
Instead, the gunman ended up alone in a classroom with 19 students and two teachers before U.S. Border Patrol agents eventually used a master key to open the locked door of the classroom where Ramos was then confronted and killed.
New details from the news conference also indicate that the gunman originally asked his sister to assist him with purchasing a gun in September 2021, but she refused.