A Texas state police official said officers outside the Uvalde school where a gunman slaughtered 19 fourth-graders and two teachers Tuesday waited for backup to engage the shooter because they feared “they could’ve been shot.”
Texas Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Chris Olivarez said in a Thursday interview with CNN that the first few officers who entered Robb Elementary School after the 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos were met with gunfire and retreated to avoid being shot and killed.
“At that point, if they pursued it any further — not knowing where the suspect was at — they could’ve been shot; they could’ve been killed and, at that point, that gunman would have the opportunity to kill other people inside that school,” Olivarez told host Wolf Blitzer.
Local and state police outside Robb Elementary School waited for a specialized US Border Patrol tactical team to arrive and take out Ramos nearly an hour after he began his killing spree.
Ramos had locked the door of the classroom where he killed all 21 victims and officers weren’t able to get inside until a school staff member gave them a key, the Associated Press had reported.
Olivarez said the officers were able to contain the gunman inside the classroom so that he was unable to kill more people throughout the school building.
Dozens of parents arrived at the school while Ramos was still inside and begged officers waiting outside to charge the building.
Some parents suggested going into the school building themselves, videos from the scene show.
The latest from the Texas school shooting
One mother yelled at an officer, “You’re scared of getting shot? I’ll go in without a vest — I will!”
Another mom of two did just that. After breaking away from the crowd, she jumped the school fence, entered the building and ran out with her two kids.