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Texas school shooting: Police ‘wrong’ for waiting to storm gunman as students pleaded for help


Frantic children called 911 at least half a dozen times from the Texas classrooms where a massacre was unfolding, pleading for police to intervene, as some 20 officers waited in the hallway nearly an hour before entering and killing the gunman, authorities said.

At least two children placed several emergency calls from a pair of adjoining fourth-grade classrooms after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered on Tuesday with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, according to Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Ramos, who had driven to Robb Elementary School from his home after shooting and wounding his grandmother there, went on to kill 19 children and two teachers in the deadliest U.S. school shooting in nearly a decade.

“He’s in room 112,” a girl whispered on the phone at 12:03 p.m., more than 45 minutes before a U.S. Border Patrol-led tactical team finally stormed in and ended the siege.

The on-site commander, the chief of the school district’s police department in Uvalde, Texas, believed at the time that Ramos was barricaded inside and that children were no longer at immediate risk, giving police time to prepare, McCraw said.

“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision,” McCraw said. “It was the wrong decision, period.”

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

Governor Gregg Abbott, a Republican and staunch gun rights proponent who addressed the meeting in a pre-recorded video, seized on apparent police lapses in Uvalde, telling a news conference later he was misled and “livid about what happened.”

Abbott denied newly enacted Texas gun laws, including a controversial measure removing licensing requirements for carrying a concealed weapon, had “any relevancy” to Tuesday’s bloodshed. He suggested state lawmakers focus renewed attention on addressing mental illness.


Even as the shooting reopened the intractable, long-running national debate over easy access to military-style weapons in the United States, the latest chronology of the Uvalde school attack stirred public dismay, including among the very officials reporting it.

McGraw, whose voice choked with emotion at times, said, “We’re here to report the facts, not to defend what was done or the actions taken.”

Some of the mostly 9- and 10-year-old students trapped with the gunman survived the massacre, including at least two who called 911, McCraw said. He did not offer a specific tally.

There were at least eight calls from the classrooms to 911 between 12:03 p.m., a half hour after Ramos first entered the building, and 12:50 p.m., when Border Patrol agents and police burst in and shot Ramos dead.

It was unclear whether officers at the scene were aware of those calls as they waited, McCraw said.

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