Police face questions over delays in Texas school storm – Boston News, Weather, Sports

UVALDE, Texas (AP) – Law enforcement officials faced questions and criticism Thursday about how much time passed before they stormed a classroom at a Texas elementary school and put an end to a gunman’s rampage that killed 19 children and two teachers.

Investigators also couldn’t say with certainty whether a school district armed security officer outside Robb Elementary in the town of Uvalde had fired a shot with the attacker, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, when Ramos first arrived Tuesday.

The motive for the massacre – the deadliest school shooting in the country since Newtown, Connecticut, a decade ago – remained under investigation, with authorities saying Ramos had no known criminal or mental health history.

During the siege, which ended when a US Border Patrol team rushed in and shot the gunman dead, frustrated bystanders urged police officers to rush into the school, witnesses said.

“Get in there! Get in there!” Women shouted at officers shortly after the attack began, said Juan Carranza, 24, who watched the scene from outside a house across the street.

Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw said Wednesday that it had been 40 minutes to an hour since Ramos opened fire on school security officers before the tactical team fired on him.

“The bottom line was that law enforcement was there,” McCraw said. “They got involved straight away. They contained (Ramos) in the classroom.”

However, a department spokesman said Thursday that authorities were still working to clarify the attack’s timeline, uncertain whether that 40-minute to an hour period began when the gunman reached the school or earlier when he found his grandmother shot at home.

“Right now we don’t have an accurate or reliable timeline to say the shooter was in school for that time,” Lt. Christopher Olivarez to CNN.

Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz did not give a timetable, but said repeatedly that his agency’s tactical officials who arrived at the school did not hesitate. He said they moved quickly to enter the building and lined up in a “stack” behind an agent holding up a sign.

“What we wanted to make sure was to act fast, act fast, and that’s exactly what these agents did,” Ortiz told Fox News.

But a police officer said that once inside the building, border guards had trouble breaking down the classroom door and had to get a staff member to open the room with a key. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

Olivarez said investigators were trying to determine if the classroom was actually locked or barricaded in some way.

Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grade daughter Jacklyn Cazares was killed in the attack, said he rushed to school when he heard about the shooting and arrived while police were still gathered outside.

Angered that the police didn’t show up, he brought up the idea of ​​storming into the school with several other bystanders.

“Let’s just storm in because the cops aren’t doing what they’re supposed to,” he said. “We could have done more”

“They were caught off guard,” he added.

Carranza had witnessed Ramos drive his truck into a ditch in front of the school, grabbed his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and fired at two people outside a funeral home, who ran away unharmed.

Olivarez told CNN that the school’s security officer was armed outside and initial reports of gunfire exchanges took place between him and Ramos, “but at the moment we’re trying to confirm that information.”

As Ramos entered the school, two police officers from Uvalde shot him and were injured, according to Olivarez. Ramos walked into a classroom and started killing.

Carranza said officers should have entered the school earlier.

“There were more. There was only one of him,” he said.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds filled the stands at the city’s exhibition center for a vigil. Some cried. Some closed their eyes tightly and said silent prayers. Parents wrapped their arms around their children as speakers led prayers for healing.

Before attacking the school, Ramos shot and wounded his grandmother in their home.

Neighbor Gilbert Gallegos, 82, who lives across the street and has known the family for decades, said he was pottering in his yard when he heard the shots.

Ramos ran out the front door and across the yard to a truck parked in front of the house and sped away: “He spun, I mean fast,” sprayed gravel into the air, Gallegos said.

Ramos’ grandmother appeared covered in blood: “She says: ‘Berto, he did that. He shot me.’” She was taken to the hospital.

Gallegos said he heard no arguments before or after the shooting and was not aware of any history of bullying or abuse from Ramos, who he rarely saw.

Lorena Auguste was a substitute teacher at Uvalde High School when she heard about the shooting and began frantically texting her niece, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary. Eventually she found out that the girl was fine.

But that evening her niece had a question.

“Why did they do this to us?” asked the girl. “We’re good kids. We didn’t do anything wrong.”

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/police-face-questions-over-delays-in-storming-texas-school/ Police face questions over delays in Texas school storm – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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