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'He walked in unobstructed initially' | Uvalde police response to school shooting under review; police chief says they responded 'within minutes'

Initially, officials had said a school officer and the gunman exchanged fire. However, officials could no longer confirm that initial report.

UVALDE, Texas — Authorities have confirmed that they are looking into the response time of Uvalde police officers amid reports of discrepancies in statements about the actions taken as law enforcement arrived at the scene of Tuesday's school shooting. 

Related story: Police face questions over delays in storming Texas school

On Thursday, two days after 21 people including 19 children were killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, officials are looking into what steps were taken early on to stop the gunman. 

Officials had said a school officer and the gunman exchanged fire, but they said they no longer can confirm that initial report.

Officials are now analyzing ballistics to learn who fired and when. It should be noted that this is standard procedure; however, efforts are intensified in this particular case due to the discrepancies. Part of the review will include a timeline based on the radio traffic.

The alleged shooter was killed by a tactical agent responding to the scene after the gunman fired on law enforcement, local police confirmed.

It is believed that the shooter acted alone; he has been identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.

Uvalde Police released a statement Thursday afternoon expressing their sympathy and condolences for the families and the entire community of Uvalde. Chief of Police Daniel Rodriguez also thanked those who have been supportive of the community as they deal with this tragedy. 

The statement then went on to say that officers responded within minutes along with officers from Uvalde CISD. Responding officers did get shot, but their wounds were not life-threatening. The statement said when the investigation is complete, they will be able to provide more answers. 

The full statement is below:

On Thursday afternoon, the Uvalde Police Department held a press conference and said the suspect had been inside the elementary school for about an hour before he was killed. 

In fact, DPS said "he walked in unobstructed initially," which contradicts initial reports saying the suspect was confronted by a school district police officer.

However, Victor Escalon, the Regional Director of Department of Public Safety, said four minutes after the gunman entered the building, "law enforcement are coming in to solve this problem."

He also said it appears the door the gunman used was unlocked. 

Meanwhile, Congressman Joaquin Castro is now calling for the FBI to investigate the events that unfolded Tuesday. He wrote a letter to the FBI director urging him to use maximum authority to examine the timeline of events. Read the full letter below:

Dear Director Wray,  

Today our nation and the state of Texas mourn the 19 children and two teachers murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022. The Uvalde shooting is the deadliest school shooting in Texas and one of the deadliest to take place in the United States. 

This incident has devastated Uvalde and the surrounding community, which includes my city of San Antonio. San Antonio hospitals received patients who were critically injured in the shooting and our school counselors, law enforcement officers, health care workers, and other personnel are in Uvalde to help our neighbors respond to this horrifying tragedy. 

The people of Uvalde, of Texas, and of the nation deserve an accurate account of what transpired. However, state officials have provided conflicting accounts that are at odds with those provided by witnesses, including: 

Whether the school security officer and the gunman exchanged fire outside the school. 

How long law enforcement officers were in adjoining classrooms while the gunman barricaded himself in a classroom with students and teachers.   

Moreover, a block of time between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time has yet to be fully accounted for. Onlookers allege that parents unsuccessfully urged law enforcement to enter the building during this time and confront the shooter. 

I urge the FBI to use its maximum authority to thoroughly examine the timeline of events and the law enforcement response and to produce a full, timely, and transparent report on your findings. Your agency must ensure that the American people have a complete and comprehensive account of how this tragedy occurred.

 

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