The 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, “entered unhindered” and was “not confronted by anyone” despite initial police reports suggesting that an officer gun was on campus at the time, according to police.
“A school district police officer was reported to have confronted the suspect,” a statement that “is not accurate,” according to Victor Escalon, a regional director of the Texas Department of Public Security, contradicts previous reports.
“He initially entered without hindrance,” he said during a press conference from Uvalde on May 26, two days after the massacre. “He hasn’t been confronted by anyone.”
A school door has also been opened, according to Escalon.
“We’ll find out as much as we can why it was unlocked, or maybe it was locked. But right now, it looks like it was unlocked, ”she said.
Press conference officials were unable to answer why it took officers more than an hour to hack into the fourth-grade classroom that Salvador Ramos entered.
“At first they don’t go in because of the gunshots they’re getting,” according to Escalon.
According to a timeline provided by officials, Ramos shot his grandmother in the face, then wrecked a pickup truck outside the school at 11:28 am on May 24.
He exited the driver’s side of the truck with an AR-15-style shotgun and ammo bag, then shot at two people near a funeral home across the street. He headed for the school, climbed a fence in the parking lot and fired “multiple” bullets, according to Escalon.
Ramos walked in through an open door at Robb Elementary School at around 11:40 am and “numerous shifts have been unloaded at the school,” Escalon said.
Officers from the Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District arrived about four minutes later and returned to “take cover” after hearing gunshots.
“During that time, they get close to where the suspect is,” according to Escalon. “Initially they don’t go in due to the gunshots they’re getting.”
The officers are “making these calls to get help, they are also evacuating students, teachers,” he said. “A lot of things are happening.”
At 12:17 pm, the Ulvade School District posted messages on social media warning that an active shooter was on the elementary school campus and law enforcement had arrived.
Over the next hour, parents and passers-by began surrounding the school, urging the police to come in and rescue their children.
Details shared at a press conference outside the school Thursday – on what would have been the last day before the summer break – sought to bridge the information gaps between the start of the massacre and the gunman’s death shortly after. 13, when a sharpshooter with the US Border Patrol Tactical Squad shot Ramos to death.
But the one-hour critical gap in the timeline – which law enforcement says they’re still piecing together, after reviewing the surveillance tape and speaking to victims and witnesses – points to lingering questions about when exactly the crime began. shooting, because the police failed to stop the gunman, and if Ramos “barricaded” himself inside the classroom before or after killing the children inside.
There were reports of gunshots until 12:52 pm.
Javier Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter attended school, said he huddled near the front door with a group of men when they heard gunshots inside.
“There were five or six of them [us] fathers, hearing the shots, e [police officers] they were telling us to go back, ”he said The Washington Post. “We didn’t care about us. We wanted to storm the building. We were saying, ‘Let’s go’ because that’s how we were worried and we wanted to get our kids out. “