© Reuters. Stephanie and Michael Chavez of San Antonio pay their respects at a makeshift memorial exterior Robb Elementary Faculty, the positioning of a mass capturing, in Uvalde, Texas, U.S., Could 25, 2022. REUTERS/Nuri Vallbona
By Brad Brooks and Gabriella Borter
UVALDE, Texas (Reuters) – The gunman who killed 19 kids and two academics crossed the grounds of the Texas elementary college with out being confronted and entered the constructing by way of an unlocked door, authorities mentioned on Thursday, providing one other new account of the occasions that preceded the bloodbath.
Salvador Ramos, 18, was barricaded inside a classroom at Robb Elementary Faculty for an hour earlier than a tactical staff lastly breached the room and fatally shot him, police confirmed. Dad and mom exterior implored officers to storm the constructing.
The Uvalde college district has a locked classroom door coverage as a safety measure. The most recent particulars from officers contradicted some early statements and raised contemporary questions concerning the chronology of occasions, the pace of regulation enforcement’s response and the college’s security precautions.
Ramos crashed his pickup truck exterior the college at 11:28 a.m. (1628 GMT) on Tuesday, fired a number of pictures at two bystanders throughout the road and walked into the college at 11:40 a.m. (1640 GMT), Victor Escalon, a spokesperson for the Texas Division of Public Security, mentioned at a information convention.
Escalon mentioned two responding officers entered the college 4 minutes later however took cowl after Ramos fired a number of rounds at them. He barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom, the place he shot his victims, largely 9- and 10-year-olds, within the deadliest U.S. college capturing in almost a decade.
Requested if officers ought to have gone in sooner, Escalon mentioned, “That is a troublesome query,” including that authorities would provide extra data because the investigation proceeds. He described a chaotic scene after the preliminary trade of gunfire, with officers calling for backup and evacuating college students and workers.
The newly detailed account got here hours after movies emerged displaying determined mother and father exterior the college in the course of the assault, pleading with officers to storm the constructing, with some fathers having to be restrained.
In a single video posted on Fb (NASDAQ:) by a person named Angel Ledezma, mother and father might be seen breaking by way of yellow police tape and yelling at officers to enter the constructing.
“It is already been an hour, and so they nonetheless cannot get all the youngsters out,” Ledezma mentioned within the video. He didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
One other video posted on YouTube confirmed officers restraining not less than one grownup. One lady might be heard saying, “Why let the youngsters die? There’s capturing in there.”
“We received guys getting in to get children,” one officer is heard telling the gang. “They’re working.”
There was no armed police officer stationed on the college, Escalon informed reporters. The gunman fired greater than 25 pictures on the outset of the assault, the vast majority of occasions he fired, Escalon mentioned.
The bloodbath, the most recent in a years-long string of mass shootings, has reignited a nationwide debate over the nation’s gun legal guidelines. President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats have vowed to push for brand new restrictions, regardless of resistance from Republicans.
‘NO IDEA THIS WAS GOODBYE’
Investigators are nonetheless working to find out a motive, Escalon mentioned. Ramos, a highschool dropout, had no felony document and no historical past of psychological sickness. Governor Greg Abbott mentioned on Wednesday that Ramos had written an internet message to somebody minutes beforehand saying he was about to “shoot up an elementary college.”
Ramos began his rampage at residence, the place he shot his grandmother within the face earlier than fleeing in a pickup truck. His grandmother, who’s hospitalized in vital situation, known as police.
A fourth-grader who was within the classroom informed a CBS affiliate tv station in San Antonio that the gunman started capturing earlier than coming into after which got here in, crouched down and mentioned, “It is time to die.”
The boy, whom the station didn’t establish, mentioned he hid underneath a desk till police got here into the classroom, setting off an trade of gunfire.
At the very least 17 folks had been additionally injured, together with kids.
Victims’ family members took to social media to precise anguish over the lack of kids who by no means got here residence from college.
“We informed her we beloved her and would decide her up after college,” Kimberly Mata-Rubio posted on Fb in a remembrance of her daughter, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, a fourth-grade honor scholar. “We had no concept this was goodbye.”
Uvalde is a house to about 16,000 residents, almost 80% of them Hispanic or Latino, in line with U.S. Census knowledge. Many members of the close-knit neighborhood personally knew a few of the victims, or their households.
(This story refiles to repair spelling error in first paragraph)