Uvalde school massacre: Embattled police defend handling of 'complex' shooting
UVALDE, TEXAS: In the face of rising criticism from parents and local residents over the amount of time it took to stop a school shooting on Tuesday, May 24, police in Uvalde, Texas, defended their handling of the situation. The massacre claimed the lives of 19 children and two instructors. The Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Victor Escalon stated the delay was due to a wait for backup personnel and resources.
In a press conference on Thursday, May 26, Escalon said, “During this time that they’re making those calls to bring in help to solve this problem and stop it immediately, they’re also evacuating . . . students, teachers. There’s a lot going on. A complex situation. They’re measuring, they’re measuring.” When asked if any of the first responding police should have gone in sooner instead of waiting, like they did, until backup arrived, he replied, "That's a tough question."
Ramos was allegedly confronted by a school district police officer before entering the school, according to Escalon. He went on to say that the gunman "walked in unobstructed" at 11.40 am local time. Ramos fired several rounds of ammunition once inside the school, according to Escalon. Officers arrived at the school four minutes later, heard bullets being fired, and immediately requested extra resources such as tactical teams and precision shooters. Officers started removing students and teachers at the same time. “Approximately an hour later, US Border Patrol, tactical teams arrive, they make entry, shoot and kill the suspect,” Escalon added.
NEW: The chief of the Uvalde Police Department has a released a statement saying his officers responded “within minutes” along with school officers. “I know answers will not come fast enough,” he said. pic.twitter.com/8m7GvLZQo0— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) May 26, 2022
Escalon clarified that most of the shooting occurred at the beginning of Ramos' time inside Robb Elementary School and that he shot more than 25 rounds, according to the information authorities received. Meanwhile, footage leaked on social media following the incident that appeared to show cops detaining concerned parents who were begging them to enter the school while tactical support teams were on their way. Escalon stated that he was aware of such stories, but that he had not validated them. The fresh information along with the press conference comes only hours before US President Joe Biden stated that he and First Lady Jill Biden will visit Uvalde on Sunday, May 29 "to grieve with the community that lost 21 lives in the horrific elementary school shooting."