Emerging details about the timeline of the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting Tuesday revealed law enforcement was present within two minutes of 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos entering the building but didn’t breach the classroom for over an hour.
Several children were still alive about halfway through the attack and were calling 911 while 19 officers were in the hall outside the classroom, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said in a Friday press conference.
The gunman shot his grandmother at her home, drove off in her truck, crashed into a ditch, emerged with a gun and headed towards the school, firing several rounds at nearby observers, according to according to The New York Times. An armed school district police officer arrived after he was notified of a shooting suspect, but he drove right past Ramos while pursuing a teacher he believed to be the suspect, McCraw said.
The officer heard gunshots as Ramos began firing at windows but the officer did not shoot at him, according to McCraw, contrary to earlier reports that law enforcement had engaged the shooter before the attack. Ramos then entered the school through a door that had been previously propped open by a teacher.
Police entered the school at 11:35 a.m., two minutes after Ramos, according to McCraw. Two officers fell back after being shot while trying to enter the classroom, and called for more resources such as body armor, according to the NYT; most of the children were shot within the first few minutes of the attack, police officials said.
Police hesitated to breach the classroom because “they could’ve been shot,” a lieutenant with the Texas Department of Public Safety said on CNN.
One caller within the classroom told 911 that eight or nine children were still alive at 12:16, about 45 minutes before law enforcement breached the classroom and shot the killer, McCraw said. There were 19 officers in the hallway outside the classroom by the time of that call.
A different student called at 12:19, and three shots could be heard over the call at 12:21, McCraw said in the press conference.
Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrived between 12:00 and 12:10, but members of the Uvalde Police Department prevented them from going into the building, according to the NYT. Members of the Border Patrol tactical team called Bortac arrived at 12:15.
Officers breached the classroom and shot and killed the gunman at 12:50, McCraw said.
“Obviously, based on the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were still at risk,” McCraw said. “From the benefit of hind sight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period.”
Jacob Albarado, an off-duty Border Patrol officer, was at the barber shop when his wife, a teacher at the school, sent a text alerting him to the shooting, according to the NYT.
“There’s an active shooter,” she wrote, according to the NYT. “Help … I love you.”
He sped off to the school with his barber’s gun and evacuated classes full of children, including his daughter, with the help of two armed officers, the NYT reported.
Some parents, including law enforcement members, went inside to rescue their own children despite authorities forbidding it, according to the NYT.
The Uvalde Police Department and the local Customs and Border Patrol office did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.