Uvalde shooter entered school ‘unobstructed’

The 18-year-old gunman who struck the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, entered the building “unobstructed” through an unlocked door and was not engaged by police outside the school as initially indicated, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

In a press conference at the scene of the shooting on Thursday afternoon, DPS regional director Victor Escalon laid out a timeline for the shooting. He said that after shooting his grandmother at her home, less than half a mile away from the school, Ramos fired at two persons at a nearby funeral home before entering the school premises. He reportedly climbed over its fence and entered through its west side door. Escalon also confirmed that Ramos travelled in a pick-up truck to the school.

The door to the school building was unlocked at the time. From that outer door, Escalon said that Ramos travelled less than 20 feet through the hallways into the door of the fourth-grade classroom, where he killed 19 students and two teachers. The doors to that classroom were unlocked and open as Ramos entered. Escalon added that Ramos was carrying a long rifle and a bag of ammunition at the time.

Escalon added that no police or law-enforcement officers were present at the school at the time, which allowed the shooter to enter the school unobstructed. He said that police officers responded to reports of shots fired at the school at 11:44 a.m. local time, four minutes after Ramos was reported to have entered.

Escalon forcefully pushed back against suggestions that police declined to enter the school after arriving at the premises, as has been suggested by parents of students with videos circulating on social media. He also dismissed suggestions that an officer with the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police service had confronted the suspect outside the school before he entered.

Instead, he said that a group of officers from various agencies entered the school immediately after arriving on scene but fell back after exchanging gunfire with the suspect. At least one officer was believed to have been hit during that exchange. During this time, they called for “additional resources, such as body armor, precision riflemen, and hostage negotiators,” and began evacuating children from other classrooms.

The officers then stood by until a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team arrived, one hour later. That team eventually breached the classroom after a delay owing to their inability to unlock the classroom door, according to the Associated Press, where they shot and killed Ramos, who was hit 15 times. They proceeded to secure the area.

Escalon added that police and Border Patrol officers were being interviewed by DPS to determine how and when they responded to the incident.

He also corrected earlier reports that Ramos’s grandmother was dead. He said that she was alive and in stable condition and was responsible for calling 911 to alert police of Ramos’s activity.

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