Two Uvalde cops passed up a chance to take out the gunman who killed 19 kids and two teachers at a Texas elementary school before he entered the building, according to a report.
The officers worked for the city, and one was armed with an AR-15-style rifle as the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School unfolded.
But they hesitated to open fire at Salvador Ramos because they did not want to hit any nearby children, Chief Deputy Ricardo Rios of the Zavalla County Sheriff’s office told The New York Times.
The chance to stop the 18-year-old before he carried out his plans for a massacre passed quickly, perhaps in seconds, Rios said.
The missed opportunity came moments after a school district officer drove past Ramos without seeing him in the school parking lot. Ramos then slipped inside the school through an unlocked back door and began his attack.
Rios said he shared the information with a special Texas House committee investigating the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history.
The police response and the actions of Uvalde Schools Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, have drawn widespread criticism and is being probed by the state and the US Department of Justice.
The revelation about the chance to take Ramos comes out as Uvalde police officials reversed course, and agreed to speak to the committee after initially appearing to ignore the request, according to reports. The city of Uvalde is also withholding police records related to the shooting.
After Ramos locked himself in adjoining classrooms, cops from multiple law enforcement agencies took more than an hour to storm the room and shoot him down, while survivors inside called 911 begging for help.
Separately, Zavala County Sheriff Eusevio Salinas told CNN that when he responded to the scene about 30 minutes into the tragedy, he didn’t hear anyone say they were in charge. He and Rios found a chaotic situation, the sheriff said.
Salinas had a portable radio, which was broadcasting traffic by the Texas Department of Safety, but he didn’t hear radio traffic from the Uvalde Police Department nor the Uvalde schools district police.
Inside, I found a “hazy and foggy” scene with multiple people on the floor receiving first aid. I have helped evacuate children from some classrooms and then helped clear other rooms.
Salinas has not been asked to speak testify before the Texas House committee, he told the news outlet.
With Post Wires
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism