Local officers reportedly delayed US Border Patrol agents from pursuing gunman who killed 21 at Texas school
Not only were local police slow to confront the gunman who killed 19 children and two adults in a Texas school massacre on Tuesday, but they also reportedly refused to allow federal agents to confront the gunman until nearly an hour after their arrival on the scene.
Specially equipped US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers, who arrived at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, between noon and 12:10 p.m. were denied entry by local police. adjacent classrooms the shooter had locked himself in until before 1 p.m., The New York Times reported on Friday, citing unidentified federal officials.
Federal agents found a chaotic scene upon arriving at the school, where people were dragging children out of windows and police were trying to secure a perimeter. The officers, arrived at the school “much earlier than previously known”, didn’t understand why they weren’t allowed to charge the shooter immediately, the Times said.
“We were told to wait” a Border Patrol official told Yahoo News on Friday. “We were told to wait and wait, and the team wanted to go. But you have to understand that CBP is not the lead agency, so they had to wait, and now look what happened. has passed.
Uvalde is located west of San Antonio, approximately 80 miles from the US-Mexico border. Tuesday’s incident began when a 911 caller reported seeing a man with a gun outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The shooter, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, reportedly entered the school through an unlocked door around 11:40 a.m.
Rather than immediately confronting the shooter, as required by police protocol in the case of an active shooter, 19 officers stood in the hallway outside the fourth-grade classrooms in which Ramos had stood. locked up, Texas Public Safety Director Steven McCraw told reporters on Friday. As more than 45 minutes passed, students inside the classroom desperately called 911 for help, in at least one case using the phone of a deceased teacher.
At the time, school district police chief Pete Arredondo believed there was no threat to other children inside the bedrooms, assuming the suspect had barricaded himself, so officers waited for tactical gear before breaking into the locked door. Finally, after a janitor unlocked the door, officers entered and members of the CBP tactical team allegedly killed the shooter.
“Looking back, where I’m sitting now, of course, it wasn’t the right decision,” said McCraw. “It was the wrong decision, period. There’s no excuse for that. But again, I wasn’t there, but I’m just telling you that, from what we know, we think that there should have been an entry as soon as you could. He added that even if more children were not at risk of being shot – an assessment that turned out to be wrong – there might have been injuries whose lives could have been saved if they had been quickly treated. .
According to the Times, the police had initially tried to enter the classrooms, but retreated after receiving gunfire. Two officers were injured. CBP officers did not know why their team was needed and the local SWAT team did not respond.
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Multiple media reported that parents at the scene were handcuffed after pleading with police outside the school to do something to save their children. Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn was killed, said he was among five or six fathers who were told by police to back off when they heard gunshots inside the school. “We wanted to storm the building” Cazares told the Washington Post. “We were saying, ‘Let’s go,’ because that’s how worried we were and we wanted to get our babies out.”