(CNN) — In the three days since 19 children and two teachers were shot to death in a shocking massacre at an elementary school, details of the horrors suffered by devastated students, teachers and family members have come to light on Monday. community of Uvalde, Texas.
What has been less available are explanations for how one shooter was able to stay in the school for nearly an hour before police killed him.
Investigators are still working to put together a timeline to explain how an 18-year-old gunman was able to walk into Robb Elementary School with a rifle, enter without being stopped through an open door, barricade himself inside a classroom and open fire in a class full of children.
“With all the different agencies that are involved, we’re working on every available angle,” Victor Escalon, regional director for the South Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters Thursday. “We will not stop until we get all the possible answers,” he said during a news conference.
A scene of chaos and confusion began to form outside the school as news of the attack spread on Tuesday.
Parents desperate to get their children to safety began showing up at the school, begging authorities to let them in as they grew increasingly frustrated at delays in confronting the shooter, identified as Salvador Ramos, a resident of Uvalde.
One parent said he asked police to give him his gear.
“I myself told one of the officers, if they didn’t want to go in there, lend me their gun and a vest and I’m going to go in myself to handle it, and they said no,” the father said. CNN. His son survived.
Multiple videos captured the frantic scene as parents pleaded with officers to come in or be allowed to go in alone. The video shows officers holding the parents behind yellow tape on a police line, refusing to let them in as screaming and crying can be heard in the background.
After about an hour, a US Border Patrol tactical team stormed the classroom and fatally shot the gunman, Escalon said.
Days after the confrontation, grieving community members are still frustrated by the delay.
“We deserve to know what happened. These parents deserve to know what happened,” Democratic state Sen. Ronald Gutierrez, whose district includes Uvalde, told CNN, adding, “I know there was a flaw here.”
“At the end of the day, we have to find out for the future, so that this never happens again, what kind of failures occurred. And I feel like in this situation, backing down was not the thing to do,” he said.
The Uvalde shooting is the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade and is at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022. The attack comes less than two weeks after a racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. , which left Americans heartbroken. reeling from another act of mass violence and giving rise to renewed calls to reform the gun law.
As investigators work to complete a timeline of the attack, the final remains of the victims were returned to families Thursday night. Six surviving victims were still hospitalized Thursday, including the shooter’s grandmother, who was shot in the face by her grandson before he drove to school.
What we know and don’t know about the shooting timeline
After shooting his grandmother at her home, Ramos drove to Robb Elementary, where he crashed his truck into a nearby ditch, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Eric Estrada said. It is not clear why he crashed.
The shooter shot two witnesses across the street before walking toward the school and shooting at the building, according to Escalon.
There were no officers outside the school to stop Ramos when he arrived, Escalon said, contradicting earlier information from authorities that a school resource officer “attacked” him before he entered the school.
That earlier information “wasn’t accurate,” Escalon said Thursday. The shooter “entered unimpeded initially,” he said.
Ramos then entered the building through an apparently open door at 11:40 am, Escalon said.
The door he entered through is normally locked, “unless he’s going home on the school bus,” former principal Ross McGlothlin told CNN.
Inside the school, the shooter barricaded himself inside two adjoining classrooms and fired more than 25 times, Escalon said.
At 11:44 am, the police arrived and entered the school. Three law enforcement officers entered through the same door the shooter used and four entered through a different entrance, DPS spokesman Chris Olivarez told CNN. When they went to confront the shooter, he fired at them and they took cover.
Two responding officers received non-life-threatening gunshot wounds, according to Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez.
“It’s important for our community to know that our officers responded within minutes” along with school resource officers, he said.
Officers then called for additional tactical equipment and resources, such as bulletproof vests, as they worked to evacuate teachers and students, Escalón said. About an hour later, he said, a US Border Patrol tactical team was able to enter and kill Ramos.
Asked for more details at a news conference about what exactly the responding officers were doing in the hour-long period, Escalon declined to provide further information.
In the days after Tuesday’s massacre, the residents of Uvalde are still saturated with pain. For some, the devastating news continued to roll in as community members learned that the husband of one of the victims had also died Thursday morning.
Joe Garcia died of a heart attack, just two days after his wife Irma was killed in the shooting, the Archdiocese of San Antonio told CNN. Irma Garcia was a fourth-grade teacher who had been married to Joe for more than 25 years, according to a GoFundMe campaign posted by her cousin. The couple’s family says Joe died of a broken heart.
Edward Timothy Silva, a second grader who was at the school, told CNN he remembers hiding behind desks in the dark as he heard loud noises in the distance.
“I was wondering if he has to go to school next year,” said his mother, Amberlynn Diaz. “And I just don’t want her to be afraid of school. I want him to keep learning and not be afraid to go back to school. I want her to have a normal life again.”
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