‘We wanted to storm the building’: Police delays in confronting killer enrage parents

Gunman was inside Uvalde, Tex., school for an hour before he was killed by police, authorities say

Gunman Salvador Ramos opened fire outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, then roamed the campus for about 12 minutes, before entering the school unchallenged, and spent an hour killing 19 children and two teachers before a Border Patrol SWAT team entered the school and shot Ramos dead, authorities said Thursday, revising key details in their account of the massacre, according to news reports.

Police outside the school hesitated to enter the building, but pepper sprayed and handcuffed desperate parents who tried to rush into the building to stop the shooter and save their children, according to eyewitnesses and videos of the events, contradicting claims by the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, that a “quick response” by law enforcement had saved lives.

Police who arrived at the school retreated when Ramos shot at them, state authorities said Thursday. An hour elapsed before a tactical unit led by federal Border Patrol agents went into a classroom and killed the gunman. The initial response appears to have veered from guidance, widely implemented since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, that says officers should pursue shooters inside buildings without waiting for specialized backup.

The amended account of the shootings was offered by Victor Escalon Jr., regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, who said three times that he would “clear up” previous statements. Escalon spoke at a chaotic news conference Thursday afternoon after the appearance in news reports and on social media of the cellphone videos, some of which showed tearful parents pleading with officers in tactical gear — some carrying rifles or Tasers — to go inside the school and tackle the gunman, or allow them to do so themselves.

© Copyright LaPresse

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