Criticism of the actions of the police during the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, in the United States, increased this Thursday (26). Texas authorities acknowledged that the gunman entered the building without facing any resistance.
While the solemn acts in memory of the 19 children and two teachers killed in Tuesday’s shooting (24) took place a few kilometers away in Uvalde’s central square, authorities faced increasing questions about their response to the incident.
“Our job is to report the facts and have answers, but we still don’t have them,” Víctor Escalón, regional director for South Texas at the state’s Department of Public Safety, admitted at a news conference.
The impression that the police acted slowly or inappropriately was reinforced on social media and among some residents of Uvalde, especially after Authorities confirmed that the shooter spent about an hour in a classroom before being shot dead by the agents.
Several v Videos recorded on Tuesday in which parents and family members of students are seen in the vicinity of the school screaming and confronting the police for, in their opinion, not intervening while a shooting was taking place inside.
Escalon clarified this Thursday (26) that, contrary to what school district sources had indicated, there was no confrontation between a security guard and the shooter, identified as Salvador Ramos, when he entered school.
“Not true. He entered the school without facing any resistance,” Escalón pointed out. The officer also acknowledged that “apparently” the lock on one of the school’s doors was found open when Ramos arrived, for reasons that are still being investigated.
One hour inside the school
After shooting his grandmother in the face at home, Ramos got into a vehicle and drove to the vicinity of the elementary school, where he crashed the car around 11h28.
From there, he walked with a rifle and ammunition for 10 minutes until entering the institution, around 10 h40 Four minutes later, the police entered the school.
On his way to the school, Ramos shot two people who were in a funeral home on the other side.
When the local police arrived at the scene, they heard gunshots and identified the classroom where the shooter was. and Ramos shot at them.
The agents called for reinforcements and began the evacuation of students and teachers from the rest of the school, while Ramos remained entrenched in the classroom where he shot indiscriminately against those present, killing him 19 children and two teachers, in addition to hurting many others.
It was around 15 h40 when the Border Patrol special agents arrived in the room and managed to shoot down the 13 year old sniper.
“How is it possible?”
Many residents of Uvalde did not understand why there was no quicker response. The school district recently doubled its budget for security and police training to respond to shootings.
“We have to train our officers to be able to respond to something like this instead of waiting,” he said. parish priest Daniel Myers, who went to pray this Thursday in the central square of Uvalde, where crosses were installed in honor of the dead.
Myers commented that, on the day of the crime, he approached the school with his wife and found “a hostage situation” in which no one explained to relatives what was happening until Texas Governor Greg Abbott appeared on TV and “announced the number of victims”.
“How could we not know before? There was a grandmother at 10 at night who still didn’t know where her loved one was”, he lamented.
His complaint was similar to that of Ryan Ramirez, whose 10 year old daughter Alithia was killed in the shooting and who, during a vigil on Wednesday, said he was “enough frustrated” because “most parents found out” what happened to their children around 23h on Tuesday.
Myers, who on Thursday took food to a family that had lost two children in the shooting, insisted that the authorities’ explanations, at least so far, are not enough. “I hope that the police in Uvalde have learned something from all this, and that they undertake changes”, declared the priest.
Meanwhile, the families continued this Thursday the preparations for the funerals of the victims, who have not yet set a date, and the White House announced that the President of the United States, Joe Biden, will visit Uvalde this Sunday with his wife, Jill.
Also today, the city received another sad news, after confirmation that Joe García, husband of one of the teachers murdered on Tuesday, Irma García, died of a heart attack due to grief over the loss of his wife and left four orphaned children, of 23, 19, 15 and 13 years old.