On Tuesday, a shooter, eighteen year old Salvador Ramos, entered Robb Elementary School and took the lives of nineteen children and two teachers. Since then, social media has been atwitter with rumors that the police didn’t respond in a timely manner. As details of the incident were released to the public, not only did angry parents but citizens across the country questioned if these rumors were true.
On Friday, the Texas Department of Public Safety made public announcements about what happened at Robb Elementary.
The Director of Texas DPS, Steven McCraw, spoke at a press conference where he answered questions about the response of local authorities at the time.
Members of the Border Patrol were on scene as well, and one agent suffered a grazing head wound when he went in to confront the shooter.
McCraw told those gathered at the presser “the on-scene commander at the time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject.” McCraw went on to say that the commander believed the shooter was barricaded in the building and that there was time for the team to wait for keys to the classroom in question to be retrieved. The head officer also thought that it was best to wait for a tactical team to bring their equipment in order to breach the door and then engage the subject.
McCraw admitted that the decision was the wrong one. He added that from what he had learned, the authorities present at the time should have entered the building as soon as possible. “I wasn’t there, but I’m just telling you from what we know, that we believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can.”
McCraw revealed some horrific details about the shooting. He said that at the time officers were responding to the situation, “there was a barrage – hundreds of rounds (of bullets) were pumped in, in four minutes.” McCraw said that this shooting chiefly took place in two classrooms.
McCraw said from what the officers could observe, they believed that there were no survivors in the classrooms. They heard periodic shooting that seemed to be aimed at the classroom door. This lead officers to believe that the shooter was attempting to keep any responding officers from approaching the door.
McCraw would eventually say that this was the “wrong decision, period.”
McCraw spoke about the commanding officer at the scene, who was a Uvalde Consolidated independent School District Chief of Police, “was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children.” The officer believed that there was time to organize so that responding officers had the proper tactical gear.
However, earlier on Friday, sources revealed that the tactical team the commanding officer was waiting on arrived on the school grounds earlier than expected, but were delayed from entering the building.
According to two officials who spoke with the New York Times, specialized Border Patrol agents arrived at the campus thirty minutes earlier than expected. The officials told the Times that the Uvalde Police Department “held the Border Patrol agents back from going inside.”
However, a sister of a Uvalde police officer said that there are some misconceptions about exactly what happened. Patricia Chapa, whose sister works at Robb Elementary, told Fox News that the police officers did not retreat “until the shooter was down.” Chapa said that the local police were in the building the entire time, but that the shooter would “come out and shoot at them.”
McCraw also said during the press conference “If I thought it would help, I would apologize.”