Texas: No Officer Tried to Keep Gunman Out

Latest account from state officials contradicts earlier report that a school officer intervened
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2022 5:17 PM CDT
Texas: No Officer Tried to Keep Gunman Out
Victor Escalon, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, speaks during a news conference Thursday outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

The gunman who shot to death children and teachers on Tuesday walked into the Texas school carrying his weapons without anyone trying to stop him, through an unlocked door, officials said Thursday. State law enforcement officials provided information about the timeline and other details, sometimes contradicting accounts they'd released earlier. Among the issues is the amount of time officers waited outside before charging the building. Victor Escalon of the state Department of Public Safety said Thursday that the officers were calling for more help, NBC News reports. Common policy calls for officers to go in immediately.

On Wednesday, the head of the state agency said a school police officer "engaged" with the gunman before he entered Robb Elementary in Uvalde, though he didn't shoot. Other officials in the Department of Public Safety have said gunfire was exchanged at that time. Escalon said Thursday there was no school officer there that day, per the Texas Tribune. The timeline information Escalon provided was not firm, and he was unable to say why it took an hour to kill the attacker. "We're working every angle that's available and won't stop until we get all the answers that we possibly can," Escalon told reporters.

Nor could he say what happened in the period between the gunman crashing his truck and entering the school. "We got a crash and a man with a gun and then you have responding officers. That's what it is, if that's 12 minutes," Escalon said. The first officers to arrive started to follow the gunman inside, he said, but fell back after taking gunfire. The officers gathered outside were calling for "additional resources, everyone that's in the area," Escalon said, and evacuating students and teachers from the building. Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas has called for the FBI to make a timeline public, per Axios, saying that Texas officials "provided the public with conflicting accounts that are at odds with those provided by witnesses." (More Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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