UVALDE, Texas – Students were trapped inside classrooms with a gunman while officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes, police said.
Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday (May 24).
According to the Associated Press, the commander at the scene -- the school district’s police chief -- believed that the 18-year-old gunman was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and that the children were no longer at risk, Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference.
'Local law enforcement asked them to wait, and then instructed HSI agents to help pull children out of the windows'
“He was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize” to get into the classroom, McCraw said. “Of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision.”
NBC News reported on Friday that federal agents who went to the elementary school to confront the gunman were told by local police to wait and not enter the school. The report said the agents decided after about a half an hour to ignore the guidance and find the shooter.
“According to the officials, agents from BORTAC, the Customs and Border Protection tactical unit, and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrived on the scene between noon and 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Local law enforcement asked them to wait, and then instructed HSI agents to help pull children out of the windows,” NBC News reported.
Officials have provided often conflicting and incomplete information about the 90 minutes between when the gunman entered the school and when U.S. Border Patrol agents killed him, according to an Associated Press report.
Timeline of Uvalde school shooting
- Tuesday morning - Ramos shot his grandmother in the face at their Uvalde home. While she reached out for help, he got inside her Ford pickup truck and made his way toward the school.
- 11:27 a.m. - A teacher at Robb elementary propped open an exterior door in order to retrieve a cell phone. The teacher who propped the door open walked back to the exit door, and the door remained propped open.
- 11:28 a.m. - Ramos crashed the pickup into a ditch behind the campus. Authorities said Ramos, clad in body armor, shot at two male witnesses across the street at the funeral home. The witnesses were not injured.
- 11:30 a.m. - A teacher who witnessed the shooting went inside the school and called 911.
- 11:31 a.m. - The suspect reached the last row of vehicles in the school parking lot. At this time, a school police officer responded to the funeral home for a call about a man with a gun. The officer drove right past the suspect who was hunkered down behind a vehicle.
- 11:32 a.m. - The suspect began shooting at the school’s exterior.
- 11:33 a.m. - The suspect walked to the west side of the elementary school and made entry through the door. He then went to room 111 or 112 and began to shoot. “It’s not possible to determine (the room) from the video angle that we have at this point in time. We do know this: that he shot more than 100 rounds based on the audio evidence at that time, at least 100 rounds,” McCraw said.
- Ramos locked the door and opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle. He was carrying multiple magazines. The shooter barricaded himself inside the room.
- 11:35 a.m. - Three police officers with Uvalde police entered the school, followed by three volunteer officers, and a deputy entered the school. The three UPD officers went to the door, which was closed, and received grazing wounds.
- 11:37 to 11:44 a.m. - There was gunfire from the shooter in the classroom.
- 11:43 a.m. - The elementary announced on social media that the school was on lockdown.
- 11:51 a.m. - FBI and a police sergeant arrived.
- 12:03 p.m. - Officers continued to arrive in the hallway. At this point, there were 19 officers inside the hallway outside the classroom.
- 12:03 p.m. - A girl called 911 from room 112 and was on the phone for one minute, 23 seconds.
- 12:10 p.m. - She called 911 again and advised that there were multiple dead in room 112.
- 12:13 p.m. and 12:16 p.m. - The girl called again.
- 12:15 p.m. - Members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit unit arrived with shields.
- 12:17 p.m. - The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District confirmed that there was an active shooter situation taking place.
- 12:19. p.m. - Someone in room 111 called and hung up when a student told her to do so.
- 12:21 p.m. - The suspect fired again, believed to be at the door, and law enforcement moved down the hallway.
- 12:36 p.m. - The initial female caller called 911 again and said “he shot the door.”
- 12:43 p.m. and 12:47 p.m. - She asked dispatch to “please send the police now.”
- 12:51 p.m. - Officers made entry by using a master key and fatally shot the suspect.
- 12:58 p.m. - Law enforcement radio chatter said Ramos had been killed by the Border Patrol team and the siege was over.
KSAT reported that the update on the attack timeline came after authorities initially declined to explain why officers had not been able to stop the shooter sooner.