An off-duty Border Patrol officer rushed to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday to find his daughter in the mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Jacob Albarado was having his hair cut before receiving a text from his wife Trisha, who said “there’s an active shooter”. The New York Times reported. His wife, who worked as a fourth-grade teacher at the school, then sent him more text messages that said “Help” and “I love you.”
Albarado then ran to the school where his wife and students hid under desks and behind curtains to protect themselves from gunfire. Meanwhile, their second grade daughter, Jayda, has locked herself in the school bathroom.
As authorities formed a tactical team to enter the area where 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was barricaded, Albarado prepared a plan with officers to evacuate the children, according to the Time.
Albarado armed himself with a shotgun his barber had given him before he left and led his colleagues to the wing inside the school where his daughter’s classroom was.
“I’m looking for my daughter, but I also know which wing she’s on,” he said, according to the Time. “So I start cleaning all the classes in his wing.”
The off-duty officer was covered by his colleagues as two other officers led the children down the sidewalk, according to Albarado, who said dozens of children and their teachers were screaming as they were led out of school. “They were just all hysterical, of course,” he said.
Albarado then saw his 8-year-old daughter and hugged her, but continued to help evacuate other children, adding, “I did what I was trained to do.”
The tactical team finally entered the classroom where Ramos was and shot and killed him. The teenager used two AR-15 style rifles he legally bought on his birthday a few days ago to carry out the mass murders.
Police come under fire for their response
Meanwhile, police have come under fire from a number of residents online for taking a long time to enter the school to prevent Ramos from killing more people, who entered the school at 11:40 a.m. Police arrived at the scene about four minutes later, however, the teenager was shot and killed at 1 p.m.
“Why did it take over an hour to get in? How many lives could have been saved,” a Wilmington resident wrote on the Uvalde Police Department’s Facebook profile.
However, Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said Thursday that officers took an hour “for the shooter to be neutralized” given that it was an active shooter situation.
According to the lieutenant, officers could have been shot and killed “if they had gone further without knowing where this suspect was” inside the school.
“At that time, that shooter would have had the opportunity to kill other people inside that school,” Olivarez added. “So they were able to contain this shooter inside that classroom so he couldn’t go to other parts of the school to commit more murders.”