|Robb Elementary School shooting|
|Part of mass shootings in the United States|
|Location||Robb Elementary School, |
715 Old Carrizo Road
Uvalde, Texas, U.S.A.
|Date||May 24, 2022 |
c. 11:30 a.m. – c. 12:50 p.m. (UTC−05:00)
|School shooting, mass shooting, massacre, mass murder|
|Weapons||Daniel Defense (DDM4 V7) AR-15 style rifle|
|Deaths||22 (including the perpetrator)|
|Injured||18 (including the perpetrator's grandmother at home)|
|Perpetrator||Salvador Rolando Ramos|
On May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers, and wounded seventeen other people, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States. Earlier in the day, he shot his grandmother in the forehead at home, severely wounding her. Outside the school, he fired shots for approximately five minutes, before entering unobstructed with an AR-15 style rifle through an unlocked side-entrance door. He then locked himself inside a classroom, killed nineteen students and two teachers, and remained there for around one hour before a member of a United States Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) fatally shot him. This was the third-deadliest school shooting in the United States, after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, and the deadliest in Texas.
Law enforcement officials have been criticized for their actions in response to the shooting, and their conduct is being reviewed in separate investigations by the Texas Ranger Division and the United States Department of Justice. After initially praising first responders to the shooting, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for an investigation into the lack of action by incident commanders. Police officers waited 78 minutes on-site before breaching the classroom to engage Ramos. Police also cordoned off the school grounds, resulting in violent conflicts between police and civilians who were attempting to enter the school to rescue children. Afterwards, local and state officials gave inaccurate reports of the timeline of police actions and overstated police actions. The Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledged that it was an error for law enforcement to delay an assault on Ramos's position in the student-filled classroom, attributing this to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District's police chief's assessment of the situation as one with a "barricaded subject" instead of an "active shooter".
Following the shooting, which took place only ten days after the 2022 Buffalo shooting, wider discussions ensued about American gun culture and violence, gridlock in politics, and law enforcement's failure to halt the attack. Some have advocated for a renewal of an assault weapons federal ban. Others criticized politicians for their perceived role in continuing to enable mass shootings. Republicans have responded by resisting the implementation of gun control measures, and called for increasing security measures in schools, such as arming teachers. They also expressed concerns about the politicization of the shooting. Some Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, expressed an openness for a bipartisan agreement on gun reform, such as incentivizing states to pass red flag laws and expanding background checks for gun purchasers.
Uvalde is a Hispanic-majority city of about 16,000 people in the South Texas region; it is located about 60 miles (97 km) east of the United States–Mexico border and about 85 miles (137 km) west of San Antonio. In 2022, about 90% of Robb Elementary School's 600 students in the second through fourth grades were Hispanic, and about 81% of the student population came from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. On the day of the shooting, there had been an awards ceremony at the school.
The city of Uvalde spent 40% of its municipal budget on its police department in the 2019–2020 fiscal year, and Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD), the school district governing Robb Elementary School, had multiple security measures in place at the time of the shooting. UCISD had a six-officer police department responsible for security at the district's eight schools. It had also more than doubled its expenditures on security measures in the four years preceding the shooting, and in 2021, it expanded its police force from four officers to six officers. The state of Texas had given UCISD a $69,141 grant to improve security measures as part of a $100 million statewide allocation made after the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting, in which ten people were slain. The district also had a security staff that patrolled door entrances and parking lots at secondary campuses. Since 2020, UCISD's Chief of Police is Pedro Arredondo.
The school and school district had extensive security measures in place. The school used Social Sentinel, a software service that monitored the social media accounts of students and other Uvalde-affiliated people to identify threats made against students or staff. The district's written security plan noted the use of the "Raptor Visitor Management System" in schools to scan visitor IDs and check them against watch-lists, as well as the use of two-way radios, fence enclosures around campus, school threat-assessment teams, and a policy of locking the doors of classrooms.
UCISD held joint security training exercises in August 2020 along with the Uvalde Police Department, the Uvalde County Sheriff's Department, and other local law enforcement agencies. UCISD also hosted an active shooter scenario training exercise in March 2022, which covered a range of topics, such as solo responses to active shooters, first aid and evacuation, and scenarios enacted through role-playing. The exercise also covered the ability to compare and contrast an active shooter situation versus a barricaded subject or hostage crisis where an armed person isolates themselves with limited to no ability to harm others. The March 2022 training materials for UCISD stated: "Time is the number-one enemy during active shooter response … The best hope that innocent victims have is that officers immediately move into action to isolate, distract or neutralize the threat, even if that means one officer acting alone". The materials also put forth the position that a "first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field".
On May 24, 2022, Salvador Rolando Ramos and his 66-year-old grandmother had an argument over a phone bill at their home in Uvalde, during which he shot her in the forehead before taking her Ford pickup truck. She survived and sought help from neighbors while police officers were called in. She was then airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio in critical condition. Using his Facebook account, he sent three private messages to a 15-year-old girl from Germany whom he had met online prior to the shooting: the first to say that he was going to shoot his grandmother; a second to say that he had shot his grandmother; and a third, about 15 minutes before the shooting, to say that he was going to open fire at an elementary school. A spokesperson for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said the posts were "private one-to-one text messages" discovered after the shooting took place.
Ramos crashed his grandmother's truck through a barricade and into a concrete ditch outside Robb Elementary School at 11:28 a.m. CDT (UTC–5). According to police, he wore a tactical vest for carrying ammunition – which did not include ballistic protection or armor insert panels, a backpack, and all-black clothing, while carrying an AR-15 style rifle and seven 30-round magazines. He brought into the school only one of the two rifles that he legally bought, and left the other in the crashed truck. A witness said he first fired at two people at a nearby funeral home, both of whom escaped uninjured. Police reported receiving 9-1-1 calls about a vehicle having crashed near the school. After hearing of the 9-1-1 call, a school resource officer drove to the school's campus and pursued a teacher who they erroneously believed to be the gunman, driving past the actual gunman in the process.
Ramos entered the school through its west-facing entrance door, which had been shut by a teacher who had seen him. The door did not lock despite being designed to be locked when shut. UCISD's police chief estimated that the shooting began at 11:32; according to a Facebook post by the school, the school was placed in lockdown at 11:43 in response to gunshots heard in the vicinity.
After entering the building, Ramos walked down two short hallways and then entered a classroom that was internally connected to another classroom. A survivor of the shooting said that, as teacher Irma Garcia attempted to lock the door to the classroom, he shot the door's window, then backed Garcia into the classroom, and said "Goodnight" as he shot and killed her. Another survivor recounted that Ramos said "You're all gonna die" after entering the classroom. He then opened fire on the rest of the students and another teacher in the room. According to a surviving student, Ramos played "sad music" before the shooting began. All of the fatalities, including the students and two teachers, were located in the fourth grade classroom where he locked the door.
The majority of the shooting occurred inside the building within the first few minutes; Ramos was in the building for 40 to 60 minutes while armed police remained outside the classroom and building. Multiple students played dead while the shooting took place, including one student, 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo, who smeared herself with the blood of one of her dead classmates to give credence to the subterfuge. According to a student who hid in the adjoining classroom, Ramos came in and slightly crouched down, saying "It's time to die", before opening fire. Afterwards, a responding officer called out, "Yell if you need help!" A girl in the adjoining classroom said "help". Ramos heard the girl, entered the classroom, and shot her. The student said that the officer then barged into the classroom, and Ramos fired at the officer, causing more officers to return fire. Officers arrived four minutes after Ramos entered the school and attempted to make entry, but they retreated after he fired at them. Officers were not successful in establishing negotiations.
United States Marshals Service deputies drove nearly 70 miles (110 km) to the school and arrived at 12:10 p.m., where they helped officers initially confront the shooter, render first aid, and secure the perimeter. At 12:17, UCISD sent out a message on Twitter that there was an active shooter at the elementary school. The school district's police chief, Pedro "Pete" Arredondo, erroneously determined that the situation had "transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject" according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). With Ramos thought to be contained, officials believed they had bought enough time to bring in tactical units. According to a Texas DPS lieutenant, first responding officers had insufficient manpower and were unable to enter the classroom, and they instead evacuated children and teachers by breaking windows around the school.
After the police cordoned the outside of the school, parents pleaded with officers to enter the building. When they did not, parents offered to enter the building themselves. Officers held back and tackled parents who tried to enter the school, further warning that they would use tasers if the parents did not comply with directions; video clips were uploaded to social media, including one that depicted a parent being pinned to the ground. Police pepper-sprayed a parent trying to get to their child, and an officer tackled a father. Police reportedly used a taser on a parent who approached a bus to get their child. A mother of two students at the school was placed in handcuffs by officers for attempting to enter the school. When released from the handcuffs, she jumped the fence and retrieved her children, exiting before police entered. A video clip showed parents questioning why police were not trying to save their children, to which an officer replies: "Because I'm having to deal with you!" Some police officers were reported to have entered the school early to retrieve their own children while other parents were being blocked from entering outside.
A United States Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) agent rushed to the scene after receiving a text message from his wife, who was a teacher there. Prior to this, the officer had been off-duty before receiving the news. The officer immediately set out with a shotgun his barber had lent him and arrived on the scene approximately an hour after the first responders arrived. He then proceeded to help evacuate children. Contrary to online rumors and social media posts, he did not enter the school or kill the shooter. Additional BORTAC agents arrived, but they did not have a battering ram or other breaching tools, so a U.S. Marshal on the scene provided agents with a ballistic shield. Ramos stayed in the classroom for around one hour, hiding behind a steel door that officers were unable to open until they obtained a master key from the janitor. After the door was unlocked, a BORTAC agent entered the room holding the shield, followed by two other BORTAC agents, a Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue agent (BORSTAR), and at least one sheriff's deputy. Ramos reportedly opened fire at the group from a closet in the room before officials returned fire and killed him. As Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) police officers exchanged fire with Ramos, BORTAC agents joined them in response to a request for assistance; one sustained an injury. According to Governor Greg Abbott, the injured Border Patrol agent fatally shot Ramos. Later reports state that a tactical team breached the room and killed the shooter.
|After 11:00 a.m.||Ramos shoots his grandmother.|
|11:28 a.m.||Ramos crashes his grandmother's truck into a nearby ditch and exits the vehicle armed.|
|11:30 a.m.||First 9-1-1 call placed by a teacher who saw Ramos, while the U.S. Marshals Service received a call for assistance from a Uvalde police officer. The teacher enters the school through a propped-open door and shuts the door, but the door does not lock itself, despite being designed to do so.|
|11:31 a.m.||Ramos, who is outside the school, begins shooting into classrooms. At the same time, a patrol officer arrives.|
|11:33 a.m.||Ramos enters the school through the same door and begins shooting in interconnected classrooms 111 and 112.|
|11:35 a.m.||Three police officers enter the school and approach the closed door to the classroom Ramos is in. He fires shots at the officers, grazing two of them. Four more officers enter the school.|
|11:42 a.m.||A teacher reportedly texts someone that there was an active shooter on the school campus.|
|11:43 a.m.||The school announces on Facebook a lockdown of the school "due to gunshots in the area", saying that "students and staff are safe in the building".|
|11:44 a.m.||Officers request more resources, equipment, body armor, and negotiators; the evacuation of students begins.|
|12:03 p.m.||Nineteen law enforcement officers gather in the hallway to the classrooms but do not enter the classroom Ramos is in because the incident commander, Pete Arredondo, was treating the situation as one with a "barricaded subject" instead of an "active shooter". Arredondo believed that no more lives were at risk, and he wanted more equipment and officers before conducting a tactical breach.|
|12:03 p.m.||A female student calls from classroom 112, identifying herself and the classroom number; after 1 minute and 23 seconds, she ends the call.|
|12:10 p.m.||The first group of deputy U.S. Marshals arrives at the school to assist. The female student from classroom 112 calls 9-1-1 a second time.|
|12:13 p.m.||The student in classroom 112 calls 9-1-1 a third time, reporting multiple people dead in the classroom.|
|12:15 p.m.||Some members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit arrive at the school with tactical shields.|
|12:16 p.m.||The student in room 112 calls 9-1-1 for a fourth time, reporting that eight to nine students are still alive in the classroom.|
|12:17 p.m.||The school announces on its Facebook page that there is an active shooter at the school and authorities are on the scene.|
|12:19 p.m.||A student from classroom 111 calls 9-1-1 but hangs up when another student tells her to end the call.|
|12:21 p.m.||Three shots are heard in a 9-1-1 call.|
|12:36 p.m.||The student in room 112 calls 9-1-1 for a fifth time, reporting that Ramos has shot a door. She is instructed to stay on the line and be very quiet.|
|12:43 p.m.||A student in classroom 112 calls 9-1-1 and asks the operator to send the police now.|
|12:46 p.m.||The student in classroom 112 says she can hear the police next door.|
|12:47 p.m.||The student in classroom 112 again asks the 9-1-1 operator to send the police immediately.|
|12:50 p.m.||Border Patrol officers use a janitor's master key to unlock the door Ramos has locked, and they enter the classroom. Ramos, who is in a closet, kicks open the door and starts shooting. The officers open fire and kill him.|
Eighteen people were injured, including the perpetrator's grandmother, and two police officers. Abbott said the two officers were struck by bullets but had no serious injuries. Uvalde Memorial Hospital's CEO reported that eleven children and three other people were admitted for emergency care following the shooting. Four were released, and two, described only as a male and a female, were dead upon arrival. Several other victims were taken to the University Hospital in San Antonio.
Born on May 16, 2004, in North Dakota, Salvador Ramos was a resident of Uvalde and a former student at Uvalde High School. He did not have a criminal record or any documented mental health issues. However, he had previously posted violent threats online. According to his classmates and some of his friends, Ramos had a stutter and a strong lisp, for which he was often bullied; he frequently had fistfights with classmates, occasionally with boxing gloves that he carried around with him, and he had few friends. He was scheduled to finish high school in 2022, but his frequent absences made his graduation unlikely. He eventually dropped out of school.
Ramos's social media acquaintances said he openly abused animals such as cats and would livestream the abuse on Yubo. Other social media acquaintances said that he would also livestream himself on Yubo threatening to kidnap and rape girls who used the app, as well as threatening to commit a school shooting. Ramos's account was reported to Yubo, but no action was taken. Up until a month before the shooting, Ramos worked at a local Wendy's and had been employed there for at least a year. According to the store's night manager, he went out of his way to keep to himself. One of his coworkers said he was occasionally rude to his female co-workers, to whom he sent inappropriate text messages, and would intimidate co-workers at his job by asking them, "Do you know who I am?" Ramos's coworkers referred to him by names including "school shooter" because he had long hair and frequently wore black clothing.
A year before the shooting, Ramos started posting pictures to his Instagram account of automatic rifles that were on his wish-list. According to a friend of his, he would often drive around at night with another friend, shooting at strangers with a BB gun and egging cars. According to a man who was in a relationship with Ramos's mother, Ramos moved out of his mother's house and into his grandparents' house two months before the shooting, after an argument broke out between him and his mother over him turning off the Wi-Fi. People close to Ramos's family described his mother as a drug user and said he frequently argued with his mother. Two months prior to the shooting, he posted a video of himself on Instagram aggressively arguing with his mother and referring to her as a "bitch". Ramos's mother described her son as "not a monster" but admitted that he could "be aggressive". His grandfather said that his grandson did not have a driver's license and did not know how to drive. According to his father, Ramos had a girlfriend, who lived in San Antonio. On May 14, Ramos sent a private Instagram message reading, "10 more days". A person responded, "Are you going to shoot up a school or something?" He replied, "No, stop asking dumb questions. You'll see".
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, in September 2021, Ramos asked his older sister to buy him a gun, but she refused. On May 17, 2022, a day after his 18th birthday, he legally purchased a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic rifle from a local gun store; he purchased another rifle three days later. Ramos sent an Instagram message to an acquaintance he met through Yubo, which showed the receipt for an AR-15 style rifle purchased from Georgia-based online retailer Daniel Defense eight days before the shooting. He posted a picture of two rifles on his Instagram account three days before the shooting.
Ahead of the shooting, Ramos had purchased 1,657 total rounds of ammunition, which included 375 rounds of 5.56 NATO ammunition purchased on May 18, 2022. A total of 315 rounds were found inside the school, consisting of 142 spent cartridges and 173 live rounds; additionally, a total of 922 rounds were found on school property outside the building, consisting of 22 spent cartridges and 900 live rounds. Overall, Ramos fired 164 rounds during the shooting. 
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are assisting local police in the investigation. Ramos's guns and magazines were recovered by law enforcement for analysis.
After initially praising first responders, Governor Greg Abbott called for an investigation into the lack of initiative displayed by law enforcement. On May 27, Abbott said, "Bottom line would be why did they not choose the strategy that would have been best to get in there and to eliminate the killer and to rescue the children?"
Two days after the shooting, state officials said that the Texas Ranger Division were investigating local police's conduct during the incident. On May 29, the United States Department of Justice announced it would review the law enforcement response to the mass shooting at the request of Uvalde Mayor, Don McLaughlin.
On June 1, ABC News, citing multiple unnamed law enforcement sources, reported that the Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde Independent School District police force had stopped cooperating with investigations soon after the DPS stated on May 27 that police had erred in delaying entry into the classroom. The DPS responded that the Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde Independent School District police force "have been cooperating with investigators", while specifying that the Uvalde Independent School District police chief, Pete Arredondo, "provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago". Also on June 1, Arredondo told CNN that he was "in contact with DPS everyday", and said he would not release further information about the events of the shooting while funerals are ongoing, citing respect for families: "Whenever this is done and the families quit grieving, then we'll do that obviously".
A Uvalde staff member filed a petition for information about Daniel Defense on June 2, attempting to make a prima facie case against the gunmaker for its marketing of the weapons. The staff member had been outside delivering food to the school for an end-of-year party when she witnessed the car crash. She then had gone inside to grab her cellphone to call 9-1-1 about the crash and had propped open a door to the school with a rock but had kicked the door shut when she ran inside after witnessing the shooter hopping a fence and coming towards the school. This was one part of the misrepresented details that were published after the shooting.
On June 3, a parent of one of the deceased victims filed a letter seeking documents and records from Daniel Defense, through lawyers that had represented families of victims of Sandy Hook against the manufacturer of the rifle used in the shooting.
UCISD asked parents not to pick up their children until all Robb Elementary School students were accounted for. At around 2:00 p.m., parents were notified to pick them up. All district and campus activities were canceled, and the parents of students at other schools were asked to pick up their children due to school bus cancellations. That night, UCISD's superintendent announced in a letter sent to parents that the school year had concluded for the entire district (in a similar fashion to what was done during the COVID-19 pandemic), including the cancelation of a planned graduation ceremony. The school year had previously been scheduled to end that Thursday. Some parents had to wait late into the night for final confirmation of their child's death, awaiting DNA identification. Multiple survivors from the shooting have expressed their fear of returning to school. In the wake of the shooting, Donna Independent School District, which serves Donna, Texas, an area four and a half hours from Uvalde, received a "credible threat of violence". In response, the district cancelled school while it investigated the threat.
On the day of the shooting, Uvalde Memorial Hospital held an emergency blood drive for the victims. The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center issued an urgent request for blood donations after the shooting, and it sent 15 units of blood to Uvalde via helicopter to be used in area hospitals. On May 27, the center reported that more than 2,000 people donated blood after the tragedy.
Shortly after the shooting, a memorial was created outside the school for the victims and survivors with balloons, candles, and crosses. A local man made 21 crosses, which were inscribed with the names of the victims, to be placed outside the school. Additional memorials were erected for the deceased victims throughout Uvalde by both locals and those who drove into the city to honor the victims. Other memorials and tributes were held throughout the country. Free headstones and funeral services were offered to the families of victims by local and state businesses. State and locally based food trucks and restaurant owners also traveled to Uvalde to offer food and supplies for families affected by the shooting. The San Antonio Zoo announced they would light up their parking garage red, Robb Elementary school's color for 21 days to honor each of the 21 victims.
Joe Garcia, the husband of Irma Garcia, one of the teachers killed in the shooting, died two days after the shooting from a heart attack while attending a memorial. His family said the heart attack was tied to grief after losing his wife. UCISD created a fund through the First State Bank, with the money raised going to the families of the victims and survivors with donations accepted in person or by check. On May 27, it was announced that an anonymous donor had donated $175,000 to go towards the funerals of the victims. Fundraising was also seen on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, which set up a central hub for people looking to donate to help those affected by the shooting, in an effort to stop scammers from taking advantage of the tragedy. As of May 27, about $7.5 million had been raised through the hub from donors across the U.S. and from over 91 countries. Additional fundraisers for the victims and their families were done through many avenues, such as item sales or proceeds from a barbecue.
Pete Arredondo, the incident commander for law enforcement responding to the shooting, had been elected to the Uvalde City Council on May 7, before the shooting occurred. On May 30, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said that the "special City Council meeting" where Arredondo would have been sworn in as a City Council member "will not take place as scheduled", as the "focus on Tuesday is on our families who lost loved ones". McLaughlin commented that there is "nothing in the City Charter, Election Code, or Texas Constitution that prohibits [Arredondo] from taking the oath of office", and that he was "not aware of any investigation" of Arredondo. On May 31, McLaughlin revealed that Arredondo had personally visited City Hall that day and was sworn in as a City Council member, stating that the lack of a "ceremony" was done out of "respect for the families" whose children were killed in the shooting.
When journalists visited the Uvalde Consolidated School District Headquarters, where Uvalde ISD chief Pete Arredondo was at, law enforcement ordered them to leave. A CNN journalist was given an initial warning, and was told that Uvalde Police were on their way and would charge journalists with criminal trespassing if they continued to remain at the headquarters. A San Antonio Express-News journalist was told by District officials that the headquarters are private property.
On June 3, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Board held a meeting and decided not to take any disciplinary action against Arredondo at the time. The Board also decided that Robb Elementary School building would no longer be used by the school, with students and staff moving to a new campus.
The mother who was handcuffed by police when she ran into the school to rescue her children was later interviewed by CBS News, which reported the mother saying that she was on probation from charges from a decade prior, and that law enforcement contacted her after the shooting to warn her not to publicize her story, because she may face a violation for obstruction of justice.
Before tactical units arrived, police officers inside the school, who numbered at least 19, made "no effort" to breach the room where Ramos was located, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). According to DPS, the decision to wait for tactical units to arrive was based on the false belief that Ramos had been isolated to a classroom where he could do no more harm. This decision was made by the incident commander, identified as Pedro "Pete" Arredondo, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police. Police arrested and handcuffed one mother who drove to the school after hearing about the shooting, which prevented her from trying to save her children.
At a May 26 press conference, when asked whether first responders had erred in waiting for reinforcements, DPS official Victor Escalon said he did not "have enough information to answer that question yet". Separately, DPS spokesman Chris Olivarez in a media interview on May 26, said that if law enforcement "proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could've been shot, they could've been killed, and that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school". Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez defended his officers in a statement May 26, saying, "It is important for our community to know that our officers responded within minutes". Former Austin and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted, "We don't have all of the particulars right now, but when gunfire is ringing out with, police are trained, expected, and required to engage, engage, engage. This is a moral and ethical obligation".
On May 27, the DPS acknowledged a number of law enforcement errors that potentially led to greater bloodshed. At a news conference, Steven C. McCraw, the DPS director, said, "From the benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period".
On June 2, Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez said that he heard from the Commission on State Emergency Communications that Arredondo did not know of 9-1-1 calls being made by children trapped in a classroom with Ramos. Gutierrez said the Uvalde Police Department was "receiving the 9-1-1 calls for 45 minutes … while 19 officers were sitting in a hallway … We don't know if it was being communicated to those people or not". On June 3, Gutierrez said that he heard from DPS that Arredondo had no radio during the shooting.
Officials, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw, gave inaccurate and incomplete initial accounts of the shooting. In many ways, new information from the authorities directly contradicted previous accounts from officials. On May 26, Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas stated that state officials "provided conflicting accounts" that contradicted witnesses, and called for the FBI to investigate and provide a full account of the incident.
On May 24, Abbott said Ramos had used a handgun and possibly a rifle during the shooting. The claim that Ramos used a handgun was inaccurate. On May 25, Abbott said only one rifle was used during the shooting. Meanwhile, DPS official Erick Estrada said on May 24 that the gunman had "body armor on", but he was later contradicted by DPS official Christopher Olivarez, who said that Ramos was wearing a tactical vest that typically carries magazines, but had no ballistic panels.
On May 25, two DPS officials, Olivarez and Travis Considine, separately said a school police officer confronted Ramos outside the school, that the two exchanged gunfire, wounding the school police officer, and that Ramos then entered the school. Later on May 25, McCraw said that a school police officer "engaged" Ramos without firing any shots. On May 26, DPS official Victor Escalon said there had been no confrontation between Ramos and a school police officer and that Ramos had "walked in [to the school] unobstructed", with no "readily available and armed" officer present. On May 27, McCraw said that the school police officer was not at the school when the incident started, but he drove there during the incident, "drove right by" Ramos, and mistakenly confronted a teacher.
On May 25, McCraw, without giving a specific timeline, said law enforcement "engaged immediately. They contained [the gunman] in the classroom, and put the tactical stack together in a very orderly way and breached". McCraw also said on that day that law enforcement "engaged the active shooter and continued to keep him pinned down in that location, until a tactical team" was assembled to breach the room to kill Ramos. On May 26, Escalon said law enforcement had delayed an assault on Ramos because they required "specialty equipment", "body armor", and "precision riflemen, negotiators". Escalon introduced the claim that there had been "negotiations", saying Ramos "did not respond" and "there wasn't much gunfire [during negotiations] other than trying to keep the officers at bay".
On May 26, McCraw claimed that Ramos entered the school from a door "propped open by a teacher". On May 31, a lawyer for the teacher said that the teacher had in fact closed the door after seeing Ramos, having pulled and held the door closed while telling 9-1-1 about the shooting; the teacher "thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked". Later on May 31, Considine acknowledged that the teacher had indeed closed the door before Ramos entered, but the door "did not lock as it should".
On May 27, Abbott said at a press conference that he was "misled" and given "inaccurate" information by law enforcement agencies, adding, "I'm absolutely livid about that". CNN reported that Mayor Don McLaughlin, who sat by Abbott at the press conference, was "left as dumbfounded as the governor by the changing stories of law enforcement".
Ramos's mother said that she had no explanation for her son's attack on the school but that he "had his reasons for doing what he did and please don't judge him. I only want the innocent children who died to forgive me". His father apologized for his son's actions and said, "He should've just killed me, you know, instead of doing something like that".
President Joe Biden ordered flags at federal buildings to be flown at half-staff. In a speech on May 24, Biden highlighted that other countries have "mental health problems", "domestic disputes", and "people who are lost, but these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?" Biden said that he was "sick and tired" of mass shootings, declaring "we have to act", and calling for "common sense" gun laws. Biden also spoke to Texas Governor Greg Abbott to offer assistance, according to Biden's communications director.
On May 25, Abbott held a press conference where he described the shooting as "evil", "intolerable", and "unacceptable". Abbott continued by saying the shooting "could have been worse" if not for the actions of law enforcement, who he described as having provided a "quick response" and "showed amazing courage by running toward gunfire". He proceeded to blame the shooting on "a problem with mental health illness" in the local community, while saying in the same speech that Ramos had no known criminal or mental health history. During the press conference, Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate in the 2022 Texas gubernatorial election, confronted Abbott by telling him, "You said this was not predictable – this was totally predictable, and you choose not to do anything". Don McLaughlin, the Republican mayor of Uvalde since 2014, told O'Rourke to leave the press conference, calling him a "sick son of a bitch" who was making "a political issue", before O'Rourke was escorted out of the auditorium. O'Rourke later criticized Abbott for reducing mental health services in the state and expanding gun access to 18-year-olds.
The shooting was condemned by former presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) described the shooting as an "unbelievably tragic and horrible crime", and she expressed support for red flag laws that help restrict potentially violent individuals from accessing firearms. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) called the shooting "yet another act of evil and mass murder". He offered his prayers to the families and children affected by the shooting, and he said that the country has seen "too many of these shootings". Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) reacted by blaming school shootings in the U.S. on "wokeness", "CRT", and "Liberal indoctrination".
Partly based on a rumor started by an anonymous user on the /pol/ imageboard on 4chan, Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) made unsubstantiated claims, on Twitter the day after the shooting, that the perpetrator was a "transsexual leftist illegal alien"; the tweet was taken down within two hours. The claims were further spread by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and other far-right House Republicans and conservative media figures and social media users, despite authorities identifying him as an American citizen.
Internationally, the shooting was condemned by various governments and politicians, including by the government of Mexico, which said it was working with American authorities to identify Mexican victims. Mexican consul Ismail Naveja responded by going to Uvalde on the day of the shooting, and Mexico said it was providing consular assistance for Mexican nationals. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned the Hispanic origin of the majority of the victims, saying, "Just look at the surnames; they are children, grandchildren of Mexicans and it hurts us a lot". Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition leader Keir Starmer both paid tribute to the victims in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
The shooting was denounced, among others, by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chinese diplomat Wang Wenbin, the European Union ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and Pope Francis. The human-rights group Amnesty International said, "Among wealthier, developed countries, the U.S. is an outlier when it comes to firearm violence. U.S. governments have allowed gun violence to become a human rights crisis". Gérard Araud, the former French ambassador to the United States during the Obama and Trump administrations, said it was a "craziness without any prospect of improvement".
President Biden delivered a speech on the shooting and asked, "When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?" His lack of a concrete plan attracted controversy from gun control activists. In a speech given on the night of the shooting, Vice President Kamala Harris reacted to the shooting by calling for policy changes to prevent similar shootings. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the U.S. to pass stricter gun control measures, and he urged Republican members of Congress to resist influence from the National Rifle Association (NRA), a gun-rights lobby that Democrats have long blamed for Republican lawmakers' resistance to supporting gun control.
The NRA-ILA's annual leadership forum on May 27 in Houston drew heavy criticism in light of the recent shooting. Former President Donald Trump, governors Kristi Noem and Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and Representative Dan Crenshaw were previously scheduled to give remarks. Cornyn and Crenshaw subsequently cancelled their attendances, and Abbott announced that he would instead appear at a news conference in Uvalde and send pre-recorded remarks to the NRA convention.
Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of a firearm used in the shooting, decided not to attend. At the event, Trump and other Republicans rejected gun reforms, with Senator Cruz blaming mass shootings on a "cultural sickness" based on video games and fatherless children, and instead advocated for arming teachers and redesigning schools to have only one entrance and exit. Gun safety advocacy groups such as Moms Demand Action and March for Our Lives, as well as local teachers' unions, Black Lives Matter chapters, the Harris County Democratic Party, and Beto O'Rourke protested outside the convention.
Top Texas Republican officials, such as Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan of Beaumont, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Representative Tony Gonzales of San Antonio, and Senators Cornyn and Cruz, resisted the possibility of increased gun control measures. Abbott said that tougher gun regulations were "not a real solution". Instead of gun control, many Senate Republicans called for increasing security presence in schools, limiting entryways into schools, and arming teachers and other school officials. Republican Senator Ron Johnson promoted the Luke and Alex Safety Act, a bill to create a national database of school safety practices, but was silent on whether he was receding from his longstanding opposition to universal background checks. Johnson's move to advance his bill by unanimous consent was blocked, with Schumer saying that the Senate was "going to vote on gun legislation" through consideration of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, and that Johnson's proposal could be considered as part of that process. Senator Cruz commented that some politicians would politicize the shooting to push for stricter gun reforms. Users on social media accused Cruz of hypocrisy for accepting money from gun interest groups, and for planning to speak at the NRA's annual meeting being held in Houston with Abbott and Cornyn.
Manuel Oliver, a gun control activist and the father of a Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim, issued a statement expressing his outrage, and said that the families of the victims do not need the thoughts and prayers of politicians; instead, they "need their kids". Several families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims spoke out, with several calling for stricter gun control. Activist Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed during the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, also called for politicians to enact stricter gun control, and expressed support for the families of Robb Elementary School victims. Gun manufacturer Daniel Defense was met with social media criticism in the wake of the shooting, including criticism of a since-deleted Twitter post made on May 16 depicting a child holding a Daniel Defense rifle, causing the company to make many of its social media accounts private.
In a press conference during the 2022 NBA playoffs, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr expressed his outrage at the refusal of American politicians to implement laws on gun control, while the Miami Heat urged their fans to contact state senators "demanding their support for common sense gun laws". The social media accounts for the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays began posting facts about gun violence during a game in St. Petersburg, Florida.
On June 2, the United States House Committee on the Judiciary proposed the Protecting Our Kids Act. The bill notably excludes an assault weapons ban but includes other measures, such as banning those under 21 from purchasing semi-automatic rifles and the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of high-capacity magazines, requiring bump stocks to be registered under the National Firearms Act and banning them for civilian use. It also redefines ghost guns to require background checks on all sales, strengthens federal offenses for gun trafficking and straw purchases, creates a compensated buyback program between local governments and individuals surrendering such magazines, along with a new tax credit for the sale of safe storage device at home, and penalizes violations of new safe storage requirements on residences. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police wrote to congressional leadership offering to help work on gun measures.
Nineteen police officers were massed outside the Uvalde classroom where a gunman was, but they were stopped from trying to break through the locked door by an incident commander who believed no more lives were at risk. 'There were plenty of officers to do what needed to be done, with one exception, is that the incident commander inside believed he needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that time', he added.
By 12:03 p.m., about 19 officers were gathered in the hallway outside the classroom. This was after the majority of shooting has ceased, so the incident commander believed the situation transitioned from an active shooter situation to a barricaded subject situation, McCraw said, so that's why officers didn't go in. 'In fact there was plenty of officers to do whatever needed to be done', but they were operating under the orders of the incident commander, he said.
In another interview the following day, Albarado told CBS News, 'I didn't shoot the guy. I wasn't in the room with him shooting the guy. I never said I shot him. So I would like to clarify that as well.'
The disclosure Friday that police in Texas stood by for more than 40 minutes while a gunman continued shooting in a Uvalde schoolroom came after two days of inaccurate and incomplete statements from the governor and the state's top law officer … The complete reversal of a key narrative fact was far from the only one … The information released over the next three days would indeed be new. In many ways, they would also directly contradict the officials' own account, compounding a tragedy.
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