Uvalde, Texas School Shooting: Parents Demand Answers About Police Response; President Biden plans visit to honor victims

UVALDE, Texas — A Texas official says law enforcement made the “bad decision” not to enter the classroom earlier because they believed no children were in danger.

“It wasn’t the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period… We think there should have been an entry. We don’t have time,” said Steve McCraw, director of the Department of Texas Public Safety, at a press conference Friday.

This is a last minute update. A previous version of this report is below.

Parents at Robb Elementary School are demanding answers from law enforcement, furious that an 18-year-old gunman entered the building through an unlocked door and led an hour-long rampage, killing 19 children and two teachers.

Uvalde, a small town in rural Texas, is in shock days after coping with the second deadliest school shooting in American history, setting up memorials throughout the community and coming together in prayer. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Uvalde on Sunday to pay their respects to the victims.

The alleged shooter – identified by authorities as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, a student at Uvalde High School – allegedly bought two assault rifles just days after turning 18 and used them to carry out the attack – all within eight days, authorities said. Ramos is now dead.

MORE: Boy who survived Texas school shooting recalls gunman saying ‘you’re all going to die’

Before opening fire on the school, the suspect also allegedly shot his grandmother, officials said.

The shooter entered safely through the unlocked door

The response from school officials and law enforcement is becoming a key part of the ongoing investigation into the Uvalde school shooting, law enforcement sources told ABC News on Thursday. .

Officials said at around 11:28 a.m. the suspect crashed his grandmother’s car on the school perimeter, pulled out an AR-style rifle and a backpack full of ammunition, and shot two witnesses nearby as he walked to school.

SEE ALSO: What we know about the 21 victims of a Texas school shooting; professor’s widower dies of heart attack

Texas officials said Thursday that police did not confront the shooter before he entered the school, despite earlier reports that a school district police officer confronted the shooter.
Even though the doors to the school were supposed to be locked during the day, it appears the door the shooter entered through was unlocked, said Victor Escalon, Texas Department of Public Safety regional director for South Texas, during of a press conference on Thursday.

It is unclear if any students and teachers heard an official call for a lockdown once the shooter entered the building, the sources said.

Additionally, investigators are investigating whether officers at the scene could have made other attempts to enter the school to end the shooter’s rampage more quickly, the sources said.

MORE: Onlookers urged police to charge into Texas school after shooting began, witnesses say

Escalon said officers “don’t come in initially because of the gunfire they’re getting. But we have officers asking for additional resources.”

While calling for reinforcements, officers evacuated students and teachers.

About an hour later, US Border Patrol tactical teams arrived, entered and shot and killed the suspect, Escalon said.

TIMELINE: A look at the movements of Uvalde’s gunman on the day of the massacre

Who are the victims ?

A fourth-grade teacher, several sets of cousins ​​and a 10-year-old boy whose family called him “the life of the party” were among those killed in Tuesday’s mass shooting, ABC News has learned.

The husband of one of the teachers killed also died two days later of a heart attack. The couple were to celebrate their 25th birthday.

“When parents drop their children off at school, they expect to know that they can pick up their child at the end of the school day. And there are families who are grieving right now,” said Governor Greg. Abbott told reporters.

ABC News has confirmed the identities of the following victims:

  • Eva Mireles, teacher
  • Xavier James Lopez, 10 years old
  • Amerie Jo Garza, 10 years old
  • Rojelio Torres, 10 years old
  • Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10 years old
  • Jailah Nicole Silguero, 11 years old
  • Eliahana Cruz Torres
  • Annabelle Rodriguez, 10 years old
  • Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 10 years old
  • Irma Garcia, teacher
  • Ouziyah Garcia
  • Alithia Ramirez
  • Makenna Lee Elrod, 10 years old
  • Ellie Garcia
  • Nevaeh Bravo, 10
  • Tess Mata
  • Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
  • Layla Salazar
  • Maite Rodriguez

The survivors try to move forward

As the authorities piece together a motive for the shooting, the survivors attempt to move forward.

The memorial is expanding for the 21 victims whose names are now engraved on white crosses outside the school.

SEE ALSO: Mass shootings in the United States have nearly tripled since 2013, data shows

Distraught families take on the difficult task of making arrangements for their loved ones.

The only two funeral homes in Uvalde are both offering free funeral services to victims of the shooting.

Since 2013, the year after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, mass shootings in the United States – described as shootings in which at least four people are injured or killed – almost tripled. Already there have been 213 mass shootings in 2022, a 50% increase from 141 shootings in May 2017 and a 150% increase from 84 shootings in May 2013. The graph above shows the number shootings by state. Mobile users: Click here to see our map of US mass shootings from Sandy Hook.

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