/  06.19.2022

As officials reveal more details about the Texas school shooting, more questions are being raised about the police response to the deadliest shooting in a United States elementary school since Sandy Hook in 2012. A Uvalde police officer passed up the chance to shoot a gunman outside of Robb Elementary School before he went on to kill 19 children and 2 teachers inside the school, according to the New York Times.

The unidentified police officer, who was armed with an AR-15-style rifle, said he feared hitting the children that were outside at that point, Chief Deputy Ricardo Rios, who came to assist the Uvalde police officers during the shooting, told the newspaper.

“My understanding, after talking to several officers that were there, was that the gunman engaged two City of Uvalde officers when they got there, outside the building,” Rios said.

He said the two police officers, including the one with the AR-15-style rifle, took cover behind a patrol car and only had seconds to make the decision. “I asked him, ‘Why didn’t you shoot? Why didn’t you engage?’ And that’s when he told me about the background,” he said as he recalls his conversation with one of the officers. “According to the officers, they didn’t engage back because in the background there was kids playing and they were scared of hitting the kids.”

This is second missed opportunity where police officers could have stopped the gunman from entering the school. Previously, officials reported that a school district police officer mistakenly drove past the gunman while he was still in the parking lot. Police officers then waited one hour and 17 minutes from the time the shooting started inside the school at 11:33 A.M. before a Border Patrol tactical unit stormed the classroom and shot the gunman dead at 12:50 P.M.

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