Criticism grows towards police action in the Uvalde massacre

Criticism of police action during the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde increased this Thursday in this town in Texas (USA), where local authorities acknowledged that the attacker entered the building without facing opposition.

As solemn acts in memory of the 19 children and two teachers killed in Tuesday’s shooting a few kilometers away continued in the central square of Uvalde, authorities faced increasing questions about their response to what happened.

"Our job is to report the facts and have answers, but we don’t have them yet."the regional director for South Texas of the state Department of Public Safety, Víctor Escalón, admitted at a press conference.

GROWING FRUSTRATION

The impression that the police acted slowly or improperly has been reinforced on social media and among some residents of Uvalde, especially after authorities confirmed that the attacker spent up to an hour barricaded in a classroom before being shot dead by the agents.

Several videos recorded on Tuesday circulate on the internet in which parents and relatives of students are seen in the vicinity of the school screaming and confronting the Police for, in their opinion, not intervening while the shooting was taking place inside.

Escalón indicated this Thursday that, contrary to what school district sources indicated hours before, there was no confrontation between a security guard and the attacker, Salvador Ramos, when he entered the Robb Elementary School around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday.

"Is not true. (Ramos) He entered the school without opposition"Escalon stressed.

The state official further acknowledged that, "apparently"the lock of one of the doors of the school would have been open when Ramos arrived at the center, for reasons that are still being investigated.

ONE HOUR INSIDE THE SCHOOL

After shooting his grandmother in the face at her home, Ramos got into a vehicle and drove to the vicinity of the elementary school, where his car crashed at around 11:28 a.m.

From there he walked with a rifle and ammunition for twelve minutes until he entered the school at around 11:40 local time. Four minutes later, the police stormed the school.

On his way to the school on foot, Ramos shot two people who were in a funeral home across the street, without causing any injuries.

When local police officers arrived at the scene, they heard shots and identified the classroom where the assailant was, but they were unable to access it because Ramos opened fire on them every time they tried.

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Those agents called for reinforcements and began the evacuation of students and teachers from the rest of the school, while Ramos remained barricaded in a classroom where he fired indiscriminately at the attendees, killing the 19 children and two teachers and injuring many others.

It was around 12:40 p.m. when Border Patrol special agents arrived and managed to shoot down the shooter.

"HOW CAN IT BE?"

Many Uvalde residents didn’t understand why, even though the school district had recently doubled its security budget and trained officers to respond to shootings, there wasn’t a quicker response Tuesday.

"We have to train our police officers to be able to respond to something like this instead of waiting"Pastor Daniel Myers told Efe, who went this Thursday to pray in the central square of Uvalde, where 21 crosses have been installed in honor of those killed.

Myers said that on Tuesday he approached the school and found "a hostage situation"in which no one explained to the relatives what was happening until the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, went on television and "announced the number of victims".

"How could we not know this before? There was a grandmother at 10 at night who still did not know where her loved one was"lament.

His complaint was similar to that of Ryan Ramirez, whose 10-year-old daughter Alithia was killed in the shooting and who at a vigil on Wednesday said he was "quite annoying" because the "most parents know" of what happened to their children "around 11 at night" on Tuesday.

Myers, who this Thursday brought food to a family that had lost two children in the shooting, insisted that the explanations of the authorities, for now, are not enough.

"I hope that the Uvalde Police Department has learned something from all this, and that it undertakes changes"stressed the pastor.

Meanwhile, the families continued on Thursday the preparations for the funerals of the victims, which still do not have a fixed date, and the White House announced that the president of the United States, Joe Biden, will visit Uvalde this Sunday with his wife, Jill.

And the city added a new sad news, confirming that Joe García, the husband of one of the two teachers murdered on Tuesday, Irma García, died this Thursday of a heart attack due to sadness and left four children orphans, aged 23, 19 , 15 and 13 years old.

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