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Texas’ Director of Public Safety broke down in tears on Friday as he admitted 19 cops stood outside the classroom where the gunman in Tuesday’s shooting had his victims trapped and did nothing because they thought everyone inside was dead, despite ongoing 911 calls from inside begging for help.
Col. Steven McCgraw cried as he admitted it was the ‘clearly the wrong decision’.
Police still do not know whether the shooter’s victims were killed before or after police arrived at the scene.
Ramos entered the classroom and locked the door at 11.34am. In the first few minutes, he fired more than 100 shots inside classrooms 111 and 112.
It’s unclear how many of the 21 victims were killed and wounded then.
Uvalde Police Chief thought that the shooting was over – that everyone inside the classroom had been killed, and that the only person inside who was alive was Ramos. As a result, he ordered the 19 cops outside not to breach the door and instead to wait for tactical squads.
However, at least some of the victims were inside and still alive.
911 calls lasted until 12.47pm when a female caller begged an operator: ‘Please send police now.’ The shooter fired his final shots at 12.21pm and was shot dead at 12.51pm.
Choking on tears, McCgraw said at a highly charged press conference on Friday: ‘Clearly it was the wrong decision.’ ‘With the benefit of hindsight, from where I am sitting now – of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. There is no excuse,’ he said.
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Col. Steven McCgraw cried as he admitted it was the ‘clearly the wrong decision’. Police still do not know whether the shooter’s victims were killed before or after police arrived at the scene.
Department of Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez made the astonishing comments during an appearance on CNN last night. He said the ‘American people need to understand’ that the cops could have been shot so they retreated
This is how the shooting played out over the course of nearly two hours from when Ramos killed his grandmother at home. He arrived at the school at 11.28am and the first 911 calls were made. He then walked unobstructed into the building with his AR-15 and headed towards the classroom. He fought off cops at 11.44am, then was left alone in the room with the victims until around 12.44pm – when SWAT arrived. The incident was declared over at 1.06pm
As the gunman unleashed terror inside the school, desperate parents were forced to wait outside and some were even put in handcuffs after they tried to enter the school to find their kids and rescue them
TIMELINE OF UVALDE SHOOTING – COPS WAITED OUTSIDE THINKING EVERYONE IN CLASS WAS DEAD WHILE SHOOTER FIRED MORE ROUNDS
11.28: Gunman crashes truck then walks to the school parking lot where he hides behind a vehicle
11.31: Gunman is shooting from the vehicle. Multiple shots fired.
11.32: School resource officer who arrives in a patrol car after hearing 911 call about truck crash drives past the shooter
11.33: Gunman enters the school
11.33: Begins shooting into room 111/room 112. He shoots more than 100 rounds.
11.35: Three police officers enter the same door as the suspect from the Uvalde PD. They were later followed by another four.
Seven officers on scene. Three initial officers went directly to the door and got grazing wounds from him while the door was closed.
11.37: Another 16 rounds fired
11.51: Police sergeant and USB agents arrive
12.03: Officers continue to arrive in the hallway. As many as 19 officers in that hallway at that time
12.15pm: BORTAC (SWAT) members arrive with shields
12.21pm: Gunman fires again
12.50pm: Breach the door using keys from the janitor and kill gunman
911 CALL TIMELINE
12.10pm: Same person called back and advised ‘there are multiple dead’
12.13pm: Calls again
12.16pm: Calls back and says there are 8-9 students alive
12.19pm: Another person from room 111 calls. She hung up when another student told her to hang up
12.21pm: Hear on the 911 call that 3 shots were fired
12.26pm: 911 call lasting 21 seconds – initial caller called back, the child. They were told to stay on the line
and stay quiet. She told 911 ‘he shot the door’
12.43pm: Student asks ‘please send the police now’
12.46pm: She said she could hear the police next door
12.50pm: Shots fired
12.51pm: Very loud, officers are moving children out of the room
Texas cops said last night that they didn’t immediately rush in to find the shooter on Tuesday’s attack after being shot at because they feared they might be killed, and even suggested that they deliberately locked the gunman in the classroom where he slaughtered 21 people in order to trap him.
Department of Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez made the astonishing comments during an appearance on CNN last night.
He was being challenged by Wolf Blitzer over why the first officers who responded to the shooting retreated after Salvador Ramos shot at them with his AR-15 and then waited an hour for tactical SWAT teams to take him out, leaving him alone in a classroom with the 19 fourth graders and two teachers who he slaughtered.
‘Don’t current best practices, Lieutenant, call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?’ Blitzer asked.
He replied: ‘In the active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life. But also one thing that, of course, the American people need to understand is that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots.’
He then appeared to try to take credit for the gunman being locked in the classroom with the kids for an hour – including some he shot at the start of the rampage who later died in the hospital – claiming it saved other lives.
Police initially said that the gunman barricaded himself inside the classroom and that they had trouble gaining access to the room, and one unnamed law official anonymously spoke out to say SWAT teams had to wait for a different school staff member to bring them a key to the class.
‘At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and at that point that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school.
‘So they were able to contain that gunman inside that classroom so that he was not able to go to any other portions of the school to commit any other killings,’ Lt. Olivarez said.
Scores of Border Patrol agents also rushed to the scene after hearing the incident unfold on scanners. When they arrived, the Uvalde Police Department also told them not to go inside, according to a law enforcement official who spoke anonymously to The New York Times.
Eventually, the agents joined parents and a handful of local police officers in pulling kids through windows from other classrooms.
The agents did not understand why they were being told not to go inside when the gunman was still in the building.
Experts have slammed the decision to wait for back up as ‘outdated’ and ‘disgusting’.
‘Waiting an hour is disgusting. If that turns out to be true, then it is a disgusting fact,’ Sean Burke, a retired school resource officer from Massachusetts who now is the president of the School Safety Advocacy Council, told NBC.
‘If you’ve got somebody you think is actively engaged in harming people or attempting to harm people, your obligation as a police officer is to immediately stop that person and neutralize that threat.
‘We don’t expect police officers to commit suicide in doing it.
‘But the expectation is that if someone is about to harm someone, especially children, you’ve got to take immediate action to make that stop,’ Don Alwes, an ex-instructor for the National Tactical Officers Association, added.
US Border Patrol agents were among the hundreds who responded to the shooting but when they got there, the local police department told them not to advance
Surgeons at the hospital in Uvalde have also suggested that the delay in responding to the shooting may have cost some kids their lives.
It remains unclear exactly how many children were in the classroom when the shooter opened fire, how many were killed immediately and how many were still alive but injured when police arrived.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital received two kids who had died by the time they got to the hospital.
Now, doctors are highlighting the importance of treating gunshot wounds as soon as they happen.
‘You can’t wait until patients go to a trauma center.
‘You have to act quickly,’ Dr. Ronald Stewart, the senior trauma surgeon at the University Hospital in Antonio, said.
He added that uncontrolled bleeding was the top cause of deaths among gun shot wound victims and that it can happen in as little as five minutes.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, officers across the nation have been advised not to wait for backup and to proceed into the school to find the shooter.
Instructions from the Texas Police Chiefs Association says: ‘The first two to five responding officers should form a single team and enter the structure.’
Why that advice was ignored in Uvalde is among the many aspects of the slow response that are now under investigation.
Another is why police falsely claimed at first that the shooter exchanged gunfire with a school resource officer before he even made it to the classroom.
On Thursday night, Olivarez said that was the information police received.
Video shows Texas cops holding down a parent outside Robb Elementary School on Tuesday while a shooting unfolded inside
The girl explained she wasn’t hurt and the blood was from her best friend ‘Amerie.’ It was then that Angel Garza (above) realized the blood he was looking at came from his own daughter
‘So that’s information that we received early on in this investigation.
‘The Texas Rangers are now conducting interviews with those officers trying to establish exactly what was their role, and that will help us establish a more factual, concrete timeline,’ he said.
There is growing anger and frustrating among parents who were pepper sprayed, pinned to the ground and even placed in handcuffs.
Angeli Gomez (above) jumped the school fence and ran inside the school where she rescued her children herself
‘The police were doing nothing,’ Angeli Rose Gomez told the Wall Street Journal.
‘They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.’
Gomez has two children in second and third grade and she reportedly drove 40 miles to the school after hearing of the attack.
She was one of the desperate parents who encouraged police with increasing urgency to enter the school.
Eventually, federal marshals put Gomez in handcuffs and told her she was under arrest for intervening in an active investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Gomez said she was able to convince a Uvalde officer whom she knew to have the marshal free her and she took the opportunity to move away from the crowd, jump the school fence, and ran inside the school where she rescued her children herself.
She said that other parents also trying to get to their kids were tackled and even pepper-sprayed by police.
Angel Garza, whose daughter was killed, was handcuffed after trying to run into the school when he heard that a ‘girl called Amerie’ had been shot.
Garza later told his heartbreaking story to Anderson Cooper.
He explained that when he arrived on the scene he tried to help a young girl covered in blood, because he is a trained medic.
The girl explained she wasn’t hurt and the blood was from her best friend ‘Amerie.’
It was then that Angel realized the blood he was looking at came from his own daughter. He later found out that she was among those who died.