During the one hour and 17 minutes that elapsed Tuesday between the time the teen shooter entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and police officers breached a classroom door and killed him, teachers and children huddled inside made desperate phone calls to police, begging for someone to come save them.
The decision by the on-scene commander to wait – having declared an active shooter situation had become a “barricaded suspect” situation – was the “wrong decision,” acknowledged Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, in a briefing Friday.
McCraw disclosed that there were “plenty of officers” available on the scene “to do whatever needed to be done.”
“With the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision, it was the wrong decision, period,” McCraw said.
“There was no excuse for that.”
The commander on the scene Tuesday was Uvalde, Texas, school district Police Chief Pete Arredondo.
McCraw said Arredondo mistakenly believed it had become a barricade or hostage situation, that “they had time, and there were no kids at risk.”
“There were 19 officers in there,” McCraw said. “In fact, there were plenty of officers to do whatever needed to be done, with one exception — the incident commander inside believed they needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that point.”
McCraw disclosed that the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, entered the building at 11:33 a.m. on Tuesday through a door that had been propped open by a teacher and walked into Room 111 then into a connecting room, 112, where he fired off at least 100 rounds.
Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers.
The New York Times reported late Friday that two months ago, the Uvalde school district hosted an active-shooter training for officers. The instructional materials emphasized that the priority for responding officers is to stop the killing by confronting the attacker.
After McCraw’s briefing, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference in Uvalde he was “misled” by authorities with “inaccurate” information.
“I am livid by what happened. I was on this very stage two days ago, and I was telling the public information that had been told to me,” he said.
Abbott originally was scheduled to attend the National Rifle Association convention in Houston, but instead he delivered pre-recorded remarks.
“There are thousands of laws on the books across the country that [limit firearms] that have not stopped madmen from carrying out evil acts on innocent people and peaceful communities,” Abbott said in the address.
Outside the convention venue on Friday, protesters screamed “murderers” at attendees.
See the protesters:
NOW – People scream “murderers” outside the NRA convention.pic.twitter.com/dlx5NvMPsL
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) May 27, 2022
‘Please send police now!’
Police said that during the shooting Tuesday there was a series of 911 calls, including from a teacher and two students who were were inside the building with the shooter.
One child begged a 911 dispatcher, “Please send police now!”
Authorities believed the killing had stopped at the time of the calls, but the teacher who spoke with the 911 dispatcher later became one of the victims.
The two children who placed the calls survived, authorities said.
Texas officials said Ramos was killed by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection tactical unit armed with ballistic shields at 12:50 p.m.
Officers had to get a key from a school janitor after the shooter locked the doors to the two connected classrooms.I
‘I’ll go in without a vest – I will’
At the briefing Friday, McCraw said the reports that the shooter posted his plan on Facebook was false. However, Ramos did communicate with a Facebook user in private messages.
And in an Instagram group chat Feb. 28, 2022, he talked about becoming a school shooter. In a March 14 message, he wrote “10 more days.” A user replied “are you gonna shoot up the school or something?”
Authorities said Ramos replied: No, stop asking dumb questions” and “you’ll see.”
Videos posted on Twitter show parents outside the school pleading with officers to go inside. Officers are seen holding one parent down and shoving another.
“They’re little kids, they don’t know how to defend themselves,” said one, “6-year-old kids in there, they don’t know how to defend themselves from a shooter!”
One mother is heard telling officers: “You’re scared of getting shot? I’ll go in without a vest – I will!”
See video of angry parents outside the school Tuesday:
*BREAKING* Robb Elementary School shooting. Uvalde Texas. This video shows the chaos outside of the school where parents were trying to find their children.#Uvalde #RobbElementary #SchoolShooting pic.twitter.com/yx97i6Bh9w
— TheFamily’sSoup TV (@FamilysSoupTV) May 25, 2022
See the press conference Friday:
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