Texas Police Say ‘Wrong Decision’ Not to Break Into Classroom During Shooting

(Bloomberg) – Police in Texas did not try to break down the classroom door where 19 children and two teachers were killed on Tuesday because they believed the gunman was barricaded alone and that no one was at risk.

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It was the “wrong decision” not to break into the room, Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday at a press conference near the school.

“From the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision,” he said. “It was the wrong decision.”

Police on Friday shared a detailed timeline of events from the massacre at Robb Elementary School. During an outdoor briefing that lasted about an hour, McCraw choked up several times as he spoke about children calling 911 to ask for help.

Law-enforcement officials have faced mounting questions and outcry from parents and the community on the response to the mass shooting. Governor Greg Abbott, a pro-gun Republican, is scheduled to be in Uvalde for another briefing on Friday afternoon.

According to the timeline provided Friday by McCraw, the suspect, Salvador Ramos, entered the school at 11:33 am The first officers then entered the school within two minutes, and eventually 19 officers were in the school. But none tried to breach the room initially. Officers entered the classroom and killed the suspect at 12:51 pm

The incident commander made the decision not to try to break into the classroom that the shooter was barricaded in because it was believed that no children remained alive at that time, McCraw said. The incident commander then made the decision to wait for more tactical officers to arrive before trying to get into the room to confront the gunman. Officers entered after they got a key from the janitor, he said.

McCraw said there were still children alive inside the classroom the gunman was in and an adjoining one, unbeknown to police. Several 911 calls were made by a teacher and students imploring the police for help. The callers said there were children in the room and that the shooter was still active.

At least two children inside the classroom made calls to 911. Those children did not die, McCraw said.

“If I thought it would help, I would apologize,” McCraw said.

The shooter got into the school through an exterior door that had been propped open by a teacher, McCraw said. The suspect had purchased 1,657 rounds of ammunition and had 58 magazines at the school, McCraw said. He fired more than 100 rounds during his attack.

McCraw corrected some statements made earlier in the week. A school resource officer did not confront the suspect as stated earlier in the week.

McCraw also said it was incorrect that Ramos, 18, had made public posts on Facebook about his plans. The comments were made in a Facebook messenger application, McCraw said.

Police are investigating people who were in contact with Ramos and who may have been helping him purchase ammunition.

(Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for universal background checks and gun-safety measures, is backed by Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent company Bloomberg LP.)

(Updates with timeline provided by police)

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