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The official account of what happened in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas is under intense scrutiny following the release of new details.
At a Wednesday afternoon press briefing, Texas Governor Greg Abbott praised police for their response to Tuesday’s massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers. A Border Patrol agent shot and killed the shooter, whom authorities identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.
“The reality is as horrible as what happened, it could have been worse,” Abbott said. “The reason it wasn’t worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do. They showed incredible courage as they ran towards gunfire in the sole purpose of trying to save lives. And it is a fact that due to their quick reaction when arriving at the scene, being able to respond to the shooter and eliminate the shooter, they were able to save lives. lives. Unfortunately, not enough.
However, the Associated Press reported Wednesday night that police waited outside the school for at least 40 minutes as parents and onlookers urged them to do something.
“Let’s go fast because the cops aren’t doing anything like they’re supposed to,” Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn was killed in the attack, told the AP. “More could have been done.”
“There were five or six [us] fathers, hearing the shots, and [police officers] were telling us to back off,” Cazares told The Washington Post. “We don’t care about ourselves. We wanted to storm the building. We were like, “Let’s go,” because we were so worried and wanted to get our babies out.
A nearly seven-minute video posted to social media appears to back up the AP story, showing officers holding parents outside the school, including holding down a person on the ground. Uvalde, a small town of about 16,000 people, spends about 40% of its annual budget on the police.
Police said the shooter barricaded himself inside the school, but the AP reported he barricaded himself by locking the door. Border Patrol had difficulty opening the locked classroom door and had to ask a staff member for a key to unlock it.
“The main thing is that the police were there. They engaged immediately. They contained (Ramos) in the classroom,” Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told reporters on Wednesday.
Law enforcement did not hold a televised press briefing on Tuesday evening. Abbott spoke briefly about the shooting late in the afternoon before attending a fundraiser for the campaign. School district management made brief statements without providing details.
Officials said Wednesday they immediately hired the shooter so he was pinned down and unable to access other areas of the school. NBC News reported early Thursday morning that, “For the second time, it appears that information initially provided by Texas law enforcement officials was incorrect. The shooter was not arrested by the co-pilot who encountered him. And he was not stuck, but rather seems to have locked himself in a classroom.
Law enforcement previously said the shooter was wearing a body armor, but also retracted that initial claim.
In a Wednesday night interview with San Antonio outlet KENS 5, a fourth-grader who said he was hiding in a classroom indicated that the actions of police officers may have caused another child who was hiding of the shooter was shot.
“When the cops came, the cop said, ‘Scream if you need help!’ And one of the people in my class said “help”. The guy overheard and he came in and shot him,” the boy said. “The cop broke into this classroom. The guy shot the cop. And the cops started shooting.
The two teachers of the fourth grade class, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, were killed. The student said they were “nice teachers” who “went ahead of my classmates to help. To save them.
Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez told CNN Thursday morning authorities were still gathering information about what happened, including why it took officers so long to enter the building.
“I can tell you straight away that as a father myself, I would like to go too, but it’s a volatile situation,” Olivarez said when asked about Cazares’ comments. “We have an active shooter situation, we’re trying to preserve any further loss of life, and even if they want to go to this school, we can’t get individuals into this school, especially if they’re unarmed. .”
Olivarez said the school had surveillance video that the FBI was obtaining.
“We are trying to establish each timeline, in terms of how long the shooter was inside the classroom, how long the shooting lasted, but at this time we have not been able to establish that,” Olivarez said. “We want to provide factual information rather than just providing preliminary timelines. We estimate between 40 minutes and an hour.
Olivarez also said they are still trying to piece together the exact details of the initial confrontation between the shooter and the school’s resource officer. Olivarez said the initial report he received was that gunfire had been exchanged between the two, but that information had yet to be substantiated.
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