Students trapped inside a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during this week’s attack on a Texas elementary school, including one who pleaded, “Please send the police now,” as officers waited more than an hour to breach the classroom after following the gunman into the building, authorities said Friday.
The commander at the scene in Uvalde — the school district’s police chief — believed that 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms at Robb Elementary School and that children were no longer at risk, Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a contentious news conference.
“It was the wrong decision,” he said.
Friday’s briefing came after authorities spent three days providing often conflicting and incomplete information about the more than an hour that elapsed between the time Ramos entered the school and when U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the classroom door and killed him.
Three police officers followed Ramos into the building within two minutes. In the next half hour, as many as 19 officers piled into the hallway outside. But another 47 minutes passed before the Border Patrol tactical team breached the door, McCraw said.