Texas shooting: Police acknowledge wrong response to Uvalde shooting | International

Uvalde police were slow to react to the entry of a young man armed with an automatic rifle into the Uvalde primary school. Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, acknowledged this Friday at a press conference that the police were wrong in their response to the Uvalde massacre. The relatives of the victims questioned from the beginning the official version described by the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, as “a quick response” that prevented more deaths. Police now acknowledge that the assailant, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, spent more than an hour inside the school while officers waited outside for a special team to arrive. Calls for help were made even from the children’s own phones inside the classrooms during the shooting. In the first four minutes alone, the killer fired 100 rounds.

“What do I tell the parents? I have nothing to say to the parents, apart from what happened,” the police chief responded, visibly nervous, when asked by the press. McCraw ended his intervention crying. “Forget how I am. I am not here to defend what was done, but to tell the facts”, he has said. “If I thought it was going to help anything, I’d apologize.” McCraw has acknowledged that he wasted precious time waiting for special forces and handling the situation the way he did. With the information he now has, “it was a wrong decision not to break down the classroom door” from the start, he has admitted. The shooter had locked himself inside two classrooms and the police considered that entering at that time would have put the children at risk.

From 40 minutes before the murderer was finally killed by the police, the emergency calls were repeated from inside the classroom. “Send the police now please”, was the message of one of the girls as revealed by the police this Friday. Even before, teachers and neighbors warned that Ramos was approaching the campus armed with a rifle. Police arrived at the school earlier than previously known, but did not confront the killer for almost an hour. Ramos entered through the back of the school before locking himself inside. As many as 19 officers were in the hallway, with the assailant inside the classroom on the other side of the door, for about 45 minutes.

A police officer places flowers at the entrance to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022.
A police officer places flowers at the entrance to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022. Monica Gonzalez Islas

“From the benefit of the perspective of where I am sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was a wrong decision. Period”, repeated the colonel assuming responsibility. “We follow the protocol that must be followed for cases like this in which the shooter is entrenched and not in sight. But obviously with the information that we have, there were children in that class who were still in danger,” he said.

The Uvalde massacre has left 19 children and two teachers dead. It is the second largest multiple shooting in a school in the United States, only behind the one a decade ago in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The victims died in the area where Ramos had locked himself in. The assailant was killed by the federal team that entered the classrooms more than an hour after the initial call to 911 notifying of an armed man outside the school, which occurred around 11:30 a.m. McCraw has also reported that two of the children who called the police from inside the school during the assault have survived.

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Police acknowledged that the killer had been bragging about having guns in his home through social media. And that he had even slipped that he was going to attack a school months before the event occurred. Ramos, 18, recounted the prelude to the tragedy on Facebook before leaving his house. He wrote that he shot his grandmother and was on his way to school. The police chief also denied a rumor that four years ago Salazar had been arrested on suspicion that he could commit an attack against his schoolmates.

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