Police were wrong to wait to attack the gunman while the students called for help.

According to Texas Public Safety Department Director Colonel Steven McCraw, at least two children made multiple emergency calls from a pair of adjacent fourth-grade classrooms after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos walked in on Tuesday with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. †

Ramos, who drove from his home to Robb Elementary School after shooting and wounding his grandmother there, later killed 19 children and two teachers in the deadliest shooting at a US school in nearly a decade.

“He’s in room 112,” a girl whispered over the phone at 12:03 a.m., more than 45 minutes before a tactical team led by the US Border Patrol finally invaded and ended the siege.

The commander at the scene, the chief of police for the Uvalde, Texas school district, believed at the time that Ramos had been barricaded inside and that the children were no longer in immediate danger, giving police time to prepare, McCraw said.

“With the benefit of being where I am now, of course, it wasn’t the right decision,” McCraw said. “It was the wrong decision, period.”

The disclosure of local law enforcement’s delay in pursuing the teen armed with a semi-automatic rifle came as the nation’s largest gun rights advocacy group, the National Rifle Association, opened its annual convention 275 miles from there, Houston.

Governor Gregg Abbott, a Republican and staunch gun rights proponent, who addressed the meeting in a pre-recorded video, lashed out at the apparent shortcomings of the Uvalde Police Department and later told a news conference that he had been misled and “furious at what happened.” “.

Abbott denied that the recently passed gun laws in Texas, including a controversial measure that abolished licensing requirements for carrying a concealed weapon, had “any relationship” with Tuesday’s massacre. He suggested that state lawmakers refocus on tackling mental illness.

SEND THE POLICE NOW

While the shooting has reopened the long-running, intractable national debate over easy access to military-style weapons in the United States, the latest timeline of the Uvalde school attack has sparked public dismay, including among officials who reported it.

McGraw, whose voice sometimes choked with emotion, said: “We are here to report the facts, not defend what was done or what action was taken.”

Some of the students, mostly 9 and 10 years old, who were caught with the gunman survived the massacre, including at least two who called 911, McCraw said. He did not give an exact count.

There were at least eight 911 calls from classrooms between 12:03 a.m., half an hour after Ramos entered the building, and 12:50 a.m., when Border Patrol agents and police raided and shot Ramos down.

It’s unclear if officers at the scene were aware of the calls while they waited, McCraw said.

A girl McCraw did not identify called at 12:16 p.m. and told police that “eight nine” students were still alive, the colonel said. During a call at 12:21 p.m., three shots were heard.

The girl who made the first call begged the operator to “send the police now” at 12:43 PM and again four minutes later.

Officers came in three minutes after that last call, according to McCraw, when the tactical team used a janitor key to open the locked classroom door.

Several officers had their first firefight with Ramos shortly after he entered the school at 11:33 a.m., when two officers were hit by bullets and took cover. There were as many as 19 officers in the hallway at 12:03 a.m. when the first 911 call was received from the classroom, McCraw said.

Videos released Thursday showed frightened parents outside the school urging police to storm the building during the attack, with some having to be suppressed by police.

Standard law enforcement protocols call for police to deal with an active gunman in the school without delay, rather than waiting for reinforcements or more firepower, a point McCraw acknowledged Friday.

Medical experts also emphasize the importance of evacuating patients with serious gunshot wounds to a trauma center within 60 minutes — what emergency doctors call “the golden hour” — to save lives.

McCraw described other times when Ramos could have been thwarted. A school official, responding to calls about an armed man who had crashed into a car at the funeral home across the street, passed Ramos as he crouched next to a vehicle on the school grounds. Police said Ramos shot two people standing outside before climbing a gate to enter the school grounds.

The door that gave Ramos access to the building had been unlocked by a teacher, McCraw said, in violation of the school district’s security policy.

NRA TREATY

The attack, which comes 10 days after a shooting in Buffalo, New York that killed 10 people, has fueled the long-running national debate over gun laws.

At the NRA meeting, prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, reiterated that stricter gun laws would do little, if anything, to reduce the increasing frequency of mass shootings in the United States.

About 500 protesters carrying crosses, signs and pictures of victims of the Uvalde shooting gathered outside the convention, shouting “NRA get out”.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat who has urged Congress to approve new gun restrictions, will visit the community of 16,000 people, about 130 miles west of San Antonio, on Sunday.

Investigators are still looking for a motive for the attack. Ramos, who had dropped out of high school, had no criminal record and no history of mental illness.

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