After shootings such as the one in Texas this week, there are typically calls for armed police officers to protect schools. However, time and time again, police have been unable or unwilling to enter into combat.
Police stood by for upward of 40 minutes after a gunman stormed into an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday and killed 19 children and two teachers in a classroom, according to a new report.
Investigators are piecing together what happened over the course of the massacre, which ended with a Border Patrol team rushing in and killing the 18-year-old shooter. Witnesses cited by the Associated Press recalled shouting at police to enter the building to save the people inside. One even proposed having bystanders do the job that officers apparently refused to do as they stood outside.
“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” said Javier Cazares. “More could have been done.” Cazares lost his fourth grade daughter, Jacklyn, in the attack. “They were unprepared,” he said.
Salvador Ramos has been identified by officials as the shooter who entered the school with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle. After being seen crashing his truck into a ditch outside the school and shooting at people outside a nearby funeral home, who were not injured, officials say he “encountered” a school district security officer, but it’s not clear whether they exchanged gunfire. Ramos entered the school and shot and wounded two Uvalde police officers arriving outside, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Travis Considine.
Between 40 minutes and an hour passed between Ramos shooting at the school security officer and him being shot and killed by a tactical Border Patrol unit, said Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, although the exact timing remains unclear.
Ramos barricaded himself in one classroom, where officials said he shot and killed the 19 children and two teachers. A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the Border Patrol agents had difficulty breaching the door to the classroom and were only able to enter when a staff member opened the door with a key.
Officials have yet to share a motive in the roughly 36 hours since the attack, which left 17 others injured. Ramos also shot and wounded his grandmother before the school attack.
The killer “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom,” Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a television appearance, according to NBC. “It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.”