Two Uvalde cops missed their chance to kill elementary school gunman


Uvalde cop had gun trained on shooter’s head BEFORE he entered elementary school but missed his chance after he asked supervisor if he could shoot – but they never responded: A second cop sped past him in the parking lot

  • Officials missed several opportunities to stop or slow the gunman in the Uvalde elementary school massacre, a new report reveals
  • One officer spotted the gunman and radioed for permission to shoot him, but he received no answer and the gunman had slipped into the school 
  • Another officer sped past the gunman in the parking lot of the school
  • The report is another damning assessment of how police failed to act on opportunities that might have saved lives in the shooting
  • On Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety head Steve McCraw slammed police’s response to the May 24 massacre as ‘an abject failure’ 

Two police officers missed their chance at possibly saving the lives of 21 victims who were killed in the Uvalde elementary school massacre, according to a sweeping critique released Wednesday on the tactical response to the May tragedy.

An officer spotted 18-year-old Salvador Ramos armed with a rifle just before he entered Robb Elementary School and radioed for permission to shoot. But he never got an answer. 

The gunman then entered the school and carried out the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. The massacre of 19 children and two teachers continued for over an hour as responding officers waited outside. 

According to the report released by Texas State University, another missed opportunity to slow or stop the gunman was just a few minutes earlier as he was walking in the parking lot heading for the school.  

One of the responding officers sped past him at a ‘high rate of speed’ and missed the shooter armed with a rifle. 

The report is yet another damning assessment of how police failed to act on opportunities that might have saved lives in what became the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Two police officers missed their chance at possibly saving the lives of 21 victims who were killed in the Uvalde elementary school massacre, according to a new report

Two police officers missed their chance at possibly saving the lives of 21 victims who were killed in the Uvalde elementary school massacre, according to a new report

Prior to the suspect's entry into Robb Elementary School on May 24, an officer spotted him armed with a rifle and radioed for permission to shoot. But he never got an answer

Prior to the suspect’s entry into Robb Elementary School on May 24, an officer spotted him armed with a rifle and radioed for permission to shoot. But he never got an answer

‘A reasonable officer would have considered this an active situation and devised a plan to address the suspect,’ read the report published by the university’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program.

Authors of the 26-page report said their findings were based off video taken from the school, police body cameras, testimony from officers on the scene and statements from investigators. Among their findings:

– It appeared that no officer waiting in the hallway during the shooting ever tested to see if the door to the classroom was locked. The head of Texas’ state police agency has also faulted officers on the scene for not checking the doors.

– The officers had ‘weapons (including rifles), body armor (which may or may not have been rated to stop rifle rounds), training, and backup. The victims in the classrooms had none of these things.’

– When officers finally entered the classroom at 12:50 p.m. – more than an hour after the shooting began – they were no better equipped to confront the gunman than they had been up to that point.

– ‘Effective incident command’ never appears to have been established among the multiple law enforcement agencies that responded to the shooting.

An overhead view of the school property is pictured in the report that shows the path the gunman took from the crashed vehicle to the elementary school

An overhead view of the school property is pictured in the report that shows the path the gunman took from the crashed vehicle to the elementary school 

The report revealed that it appeared that no officer waiting in the hallway during the shooting ever tested to see if the door to the classroom was locked

The report revealed that it appeared that no officer waiting in the hallway during the shooting ever tested to see if the door to the classroom was locked

The gunman, an 18-year-old with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, entered the building at 11:33 a.m. 

Before that a Uvalde police officer, who the report did not identify, saw the gunman carrying a rife toward the west hall entrance. 

The officer asked a supervisor for permission to open fire, but the supervisor ‘either did not hear or responded too late,’ the report said.

When the officer turned back toward the gunman, he already gone inside ‘unabated,’ according to the report.

The officer was 148 yards away from the door, which the report said was within the range of his rifle, and allegedly said he was concerned that an errant shot could have penetrated the school and injured students inside.

‘Ultimately, the decision to use deadly force always lies with the officer who will use the force. If the officer was not confident that he could both hit his target and of his backdrop if he missed, he should not have fired,’ the report read.

The report is one of multiple fact-finding reviews launched in the aftermath of the worst school shooting in Texas history. 

US Border Patrol agents rush Robb Elementary school children to safety on May 24 moments after they were freed from inside a classroom via the window. A new report reveals more details of how the attack continued for an hour while police waited outside

US Border Patrol agents rush Robb Elementary school children to safety on May 24 moments after they were freed from inside a classroom via the window. A new report reveals more details of how the attack continued for an hour while police waited outside

This is the first image shared of the interior of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, taken while the May 24 massacre that killed 21 was taking place. Two well-armed cops with a ballistic shield can be seen just 19 minutes after shooter Salvador Ramos entered a classroom - but that room would not be stormed for another 58 minutes, even though these cops seem well-equipped to attempt a rescue mission

This is the first image shared of the interior of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, taken while the May 24 massacre that killed 21 was taking place. Two well-armed cops with a ballistic shield can be seen just 19 minutes after shooter Salvador Ramos entered a classroom – but that room would not be stormed for another 58 minutes, even though these cops seem well-equipped to attempt a rescue mission 

A committee formed by Texas legislators has also interviewed more than 20 people, including officers who were on the scene, behind closed doors for several weeks. It is unclear when they will release their findings.

It follows testimony last month in which Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the state Senate that the police response was an ‘abject failure.’ 

He pinned particular blame on Chief Pete Arredondo, saying that as on-scene commander the Uvalde schools police chief made ‘terrible decisions’ and stopped officers from confronting the gunman earlier.

Arredondo has tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he didn’t consider himself the commander in charge of operations and that he assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response. He said he didn’t have his police and campus radios but that he used his cellphone to call for tactical gear, a sniper and the classroom keys.

According to he report released Wednesday, Arredondo and another Uvalde police officer spent 13 minutes in the school hallway during the shooting discussing tactical options, whether to use snipers and how to get into the classroom windows.

‘They also discussed who has the keys, testing keys, the probability of the door being locked, and if kids and teachers are dying or dead,’ the report read.

McCraw said police had enough officers and firepower on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, and they would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to check it.

Texas Department of Public Safety head Steve McCraw revealed this week that the door to the classroom (pictured) had not been locked - contradicting earlier assertions that the police chief had been trying to track down keys to open the classroom door

Texas Department of Public Safety head Steve McCraw revealed this week that the door to the classroom (pictured) had not been locked – contradicting earlier assertions that the police chief had been trying to track down keys to open the classroom door

A lawyer for Arredondo and a spokeswoman for the Uvalde city police department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Arredondo is on leave from his job with the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District and resigned from his position as a city councilor last week.

Public leaders, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, initially praised the police response in Uvalde. Abbott said officers reacted quickly and ran toward the gunfire with ‘amazing courage’ to take out the killer, thereby saving lives. 

He later said he was misled. In the days and weeks after the shooting, authorities gave conflicting and incorrect accounts of what happened. The fallout has driven recriminations and rifts between local and state authorities. 

On Tuesday, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin and state Sen. Roland Gutierrez released a letter asking Abbott to move administration of a victims relief fund from the local prosecutor’s office to the Texas Department of Emergency Management. 

They wrote that they’ve received numerous complaints about District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee, ‘including the failure to timely deliver victim’s compensation resources to those in need.´´

Busbee’s office declined to comment Wednesday.

The 19 children and two teachers butchered in Texas elementary school shooting

Amerie Jo Garza, 10

Amerie Jo Garza (right)

Amerie Jo Garza (right)

Amerie Jo Garza, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary, was one of 19 students confirmed to be killed Tuesday morning by Ramos, who cops say was carrying a handgun and an AR-15 during the attack that also killed two teachers in the classroom.

Her grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, said the 10-year-old was killed as she tried to phone 911 while sitting next to her best friend, who ended up ‘covered in her blood.’

Arreola said Ramos told the students and staffers inside the room, ‘You’re going to die,’ before opening fire – shooting her granddaughter dead as she tried to phone for help.

‘So the gunman went in and he told the children, ‘You’re going to die,’ Berlinda told The Daily Beast.

‘And [Amerie] had her phone and she called 911. And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her. She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood.’ 

Uziyah Garcia

Uziyah Garcia

Uziyah Garcia, 8

Uziyah Garcia, the youngest victim at age eight, was also killed in the attack.

The child’s family announced he was killed hours after announcing he was among the many children unaccounted for following the tragedy.

The boy’s grandfather, Manny Renfro, broke the news early Wednesday after being notified by authorities.

‘[He was] the sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,’ Renfro said. ‘I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.’

Renfro recalled how Uziyah last visited him in San Angelo over spring break.

‘We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns.

‘Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,’ the grieving grandad said.

‘There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced.’

Makenna Elrod, 10

Makenna Lee Elrod

Makenna Lee Elrod

Makenna Elrod, 10, had also been among the missing in the chaos that followed the massacre, with her father, Brandon Elrod telling reporters at the time he feared ‘she may not be alive.’

Her death was eventually confirmed by a family friend on Wednesday. ‘It’s pretty sad what this world’s coming to,’ the girl’s father told local outlet KTRK after the shooting.

A mother of one of Makenna’s friends lamented the loss in a post to Facebook. 

‘Sweet Makenna Rest in Paradise!! My heart is shattered as my daughter Chloe loved her so much!!’ the mom wrote. A relative Wednesday confirmed that the girl had been among the victims.

Xavier Lopez, 10

Xavier Lopez

Xavier Lopez

Xavier Lopez, 10, was the first student victim to be identified as one of Ramos’ victims.

The child’s mother, Felicha Martinez, told the Washington Post Tuesday that just hours before the massacre, the mom had been at the school to see her son participate an honor roll ceremony. 

She took a picture showing her son showing off his certificate.

In the last exchange she had with the child, the mom heartbreakingly told the boy that she was proud of him and that she loved him, giving him a hug goodbye – not knowing it would be the last time she would see him alive.

‘He was funny, never serious and his smile… that smile I will never forget,’ she recalled after learning of his death from police. ‘It would always cheer anyone up.’

The boy’s cousin, Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, said Xavier enjoyed swimming and had been looking forward to the summer.

‘He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,’ she said. 

‘He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.’

Amelia Sandoval, Lopez’s grandmother, said: ‘It’s just so hard… you send your kids to school thinking they are going to make it back home but they’re not.’

Eliahana Torres, 10

Eliahana Cruz Torres

Eliahana Cruz Torres

Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10, had also been missing for hours until she was confirmed to be among the dead.

Adolfo Cruz, her great-grandfather, said she didn’t want to attend school the day of the shooting – but was told by her family that she had to attend.

He said he remained outside the school gates throughout the night until he leanrned of her fate from local authorities.

‘I hope she is alive,’ he said at the time. 

Torres was an avid baseball player and played the sport in a local little league. 

Ellie Lugo, 10

Ellie Lugo

Ellie Lugo

Ellie Lugo was named as a victim of Tuesday’s attack by her parents, with Steven Garcia and Jennifer Lugo confirming her death several hours after she was listed among the missing. 

‘It’s hard to issue out a statement on anything right now my mind is going at 1000 miles per hour… but I do wanna send our thoughts and prayers to those who also didn’t make it home tonight!!! Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever,’ Steven Lugo said Wednesday.

‘Mom and Dad love you never forget that and please try and stay by our side.’  

Nevaeh Bravo, 10

Nevaeh Bravo

Nevaeh Bravo

Nevaeh Bravo was confirmed to be among the dead late Tuesday, after her cousin posted on social media following the shooting to ask for helping the girl. 

Around 9 pm, she broke the news on Twitter.

‘Unfortunately my beautiful Nevaeh was one of the many victims from todays tragedy,’ she wrote.

Sje said the schoolchild was ‘flying high’ and asked for the family to be kept in people’s prayers  

‘Our Nevaeh has been found. She is flying with the angels above. We love you Navaeh very much princess.’

‘Thank you for the support and help,’ she wrote. ‘Rest in peace my sweet girl, you didn’t deserve this.’

Bravo’s age could not immediately be confirmed.  

Tess Marie Mata

Tess Marie Mata

Tess Marie Mata was also among those to perish in the attack, her sister, Faith Mata, revealed in a post to Facebook Wednesday.

‘I honestly have no words just sadness, confusion, and anger,’ she wrote.

‘I’m sad because we will never get to tag team on mom and dad again and tell each other how much we mean to each other, I’m confused because how can something like this happen to my sweet, caring, and beautiful sister, and I’m angry because a coward took you from us.’

Photos shared with the post showed Tess smiling in a baby photo, snuggling with a cat, doing gymnastics, flashing a peace sign, and posing in front of a large heart mural.

‘Sissy I miss you so much, I just want to hold you and tell you how pretty you are, I want to take you outside and practice softball, I want to go on one last family vacation, I want to hear your contagious laugh, and I want you to hear me tell you how much I love you,’ she wrote.

Her age could not immediately be confirmed.

Rojelio Torres, 10

Rojelio Torres

Rojelio Torres

Rojelio Torres, 10, was initially reported missing by his father, but on Wednesday was confirmed dead by his family.

A person who said she was the boy’s cousin wrote on Twitter: ‘It breaks my heart to say my rojelio is now with the angels I’ll forever miss you and love you my angel.’

The child’s father , Federico Torres, told Houston reporters that he was at work when he learned about the shooting and immediately raced to the school.

‘They sent us to the hospital, to the civic center, to the hospital and here again, nothing, not even in San Antonio,’ he said. ‘They don’t tell us anything, only a photo, wait, hope that everything is well.’

Nearly half a day later, cops broke the news to the boy’s family.

‘Our entire family waited almost 12 hours since the shooting to find out Rojelio Torres, my 10-year-old nephew, was killed in this tragedy,’ Torres’ aunt, Precious Perez, told KSAT. ‘We are devastated and heartbroken. Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten.’ 

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10

Jayce Luevanos

Jayce Luevanos

Jayce Luevanos, 10, died in the shooting along with his ten-year-old cousin, Jailah, the child’s mother said Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, uncle Unberto Gonzalez shared photos of both kids while offering a touching tribute.

‘My babies going to miss them like crazy!!!,’ Gonzalez wrote. ‘We luv y’all so much!!! I’m just lost right now!!! Fly high my beautiful Angels!!’

Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10

Jailah Nicole Silguero

Jailah Nicole Silguero

Ten-year-old Jailah Nicole Silguero was also killed in the shooting, her mother, Veronica Luevanos, tearfully revealed to Univision Wednesday.

She also lost her 10-year-old nephew Jayce to the tragedy.

She said Jailah loved to dance and film videos on TikTok.

The child reportedly also asked her mom the morning of the shooting if she could stay home from school – a request the now mourning mom rebuffed. 

‘I took her to school, but she didn’t want to go. She told her father, ‘Can I stay home?” Luevanos said, noting that it was not a common occurrence for her daughter to make such a request. ‘I think she knew something would happen.’

Luevanos’ mom confirmed the loss on Facebook Wednesday.

‘Fly high my angels. We’re going to miss yall so much,’ wrote Veronica Luevanos – whose dad had died just a week earlier.

‘I’m so heart broken,’ she wrote with a photo of her daughter and nephew. 

‘My baby I love u so much … fly high baby girl.’

Alithia Ramirez, 10

Alithia Ramirez

Alithia Ramirez

 Fourth grader Alithia Ramirez was confirmed dead early Wednesday by her father, Ryan Ramirez, who shared a post to Facebook showing the 10-year-old with angel’s wings. He had used the same photo the previous day as he pleaded for help finding her after the massacre

He had heartbreakingly used the same photo the previous day as he desperately pleaded for help finding her after the massacre.

‘Trying to find my daughter Alithia. I called all the hospitals and nothing,’ he wrote at the time.

He also reporters during his frantic search, ‘I’m trying to find out where my baby’s at.’ 

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, was another killed by Ramos Tuesday – along with her cousin, who has yet to be identified.

Annabell’s father spent the afternoon after the shooting in frantic search for his daughter. 

Speaking to KHOU11 Tuesday, he lamented at how he was at a loss as to what do, having little success with the search.

‘They’re not letting us in at the hospital right now so we don’t know where to go.’

 She has since been declared to be among the dead.

Miranda Mathis, 11

Miranda Mathis

Miranda Mathis

Miranda Mathis, 11,  was also confirmed as another casualty from the mass shooting early Wednesday, in a Facebook post by an older cousin who earlier that day had posted a desperate plea for help in locating the child.

‘My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly,’ Deanna Miller wrote alongside a photo of the child with angel wings.

‘I’m so sorry this happen to u baby please keep my family in your prayers,’ she grieved.

Miller’s kids had also been at the school at the time of the shooting, but survived the attack.

One of her sons told her that they were ushered out of a window by staffers during the attack and subsequently ran to a nearby funeral home after ‘he heard the shooter say he was gonna kill all the kids.’

Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Aniyah Rubio, 10

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio – who was better known to friends as ‘Lexi’ – was confirmed dead just before midnight on Tuesday.

The ten-year-old was shot dead just hours after posing for a photo with her parents at the school’s honor roll ceremony.

Kimberly Mata-Rubio, the girl’s mother, wrote of the loss: ‘My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll. She also received the good citizen award. We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye.’ 

Maite Yuleana

Maite Yuleana

Maite Yuleana

Maite Yuleana was another student to die in the attack that had attended the honor roll ceremony just hours before.

A cousin of the girl’s mother, Ana Rodriguez, announced the loss Wednesday. 

‘It is with a heavy heart I come on here on behalf of my cousin Ana who lost her sweet baby girl in yesterday’s senseless shooting.  

‘We are deeply saddened by the lose [sic] of this sweet smart little girl…. God bless and may she R.I.P Maite Rodriguez we love you.’

Another relative shared a photo of Maite with her honor roll certificate.

Her age could not immediately be confirmed.

Jose Flores Jr, 10

Jose Flores

Jose Flores

Jose Flores, 10, was also killed in the shooting after attending the honor roll ceremony, where he was pictured triumphantly clutching a certificate celebrating the accomplishment.

Uncle Christopher Salazar confirmed to the Washington Post Wednesday that his 10-year-old nephew was among the dead, after sharing a tribute to the child on Facebook.

‘I love you and I miss you,’ Salazar wrote in the post.  

The boy’s father described Jose to CNN as an amazing boy and big brother to his two younger siblings.

‘He was always fill of energy,’ Jose Flores Sr. said. ‘Ready to play till the night.’

He said the boy loved playing baseball and video games.

Jackie Cazares

Jackie Cazares

Jackie Cazares, 10

Jackie Cazares, 10, was another to be killed during the vicious attack at the elementary school.

Her father Jacinto confirmed she lost her life inside her fourth-grade classroom.

‘My baby girl has been taken away from my family and I,’ the grieving father said in an online post.

‘We’re devastated in ways I hope no one ever goes through. … It hurts us to our souls.’

Cazares said his daughter, who was with her cousin, Annabell Rodriguez, when she died, was ‘full of life and love’.

Layla Salazar, 10

The 10-year-old student was the last of the slaying victims to be identified.

Vincent Salazar told the Philadelphia Inquirer his young daughter was among those killed.

He said she was ‘a lot of fun’ and recalled how they sang along to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses whenever he drove her to school.   

Layla Salazar

Layla Salazar

Irma Garcia, 46 – fourth grade teacher

Irma Garcia

Irma Garcia

Irma Garcia, who co-taught with Mireles for the last five year, had been at Robb Elementary for 23 years. 

Married to Joe for 24 years, she was a mother of four – Cristian, completing Marine boot camp; Jose, attending Texas State university University; Lyliana, a sophomore in high school; and Alysandra, a 7th grader. 

‘My tia did not make it, she sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom, i beg of you to keep my family including all of her family in y’all’s prayers , IRMA GARCIA IS HER NAME and she died a HERO,’ tweeted her nephew John. 

‘She was loved by many and will truly be missed.’

She was nominated as teacher of the year for the 2018-19 awards, organized by Trinity University. 

Eva Mireles, 44 – fourth grade teacher

Eva Mireles

Eva Mireles

Eva Mireles, a fourth grade teacher, was identified by her family as being one of the staff members shot dead. She had worked in education for 17 years. 

Her husband Ruben Ruiz, a veteran detective and SWAT team member currently serving as a police officer with the school district, held regular active shooter drills for the schools – most recently at the end of March. 

Advertisement

Source

Related posts