Since Tuesday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the details about what happened have changed and been updated by authorities.
Victor Escalon, South Texas regional director for the Department of Public Safety, told reporters Thursday that investigators are “still grabbing a lot of information” regarding the shooting.
“We’re going to find out. With all the different agencies that are involved, we’re working every angle that’s available. We won’t stop until we get all the answers that we possibly can,” he said during a news conference.
Here is the latest timeline of events that police claim occurred:
- Escalon said that the suspect, Salvador Ramos, shot his grandmother and then wrecked his truck in a ditch outside the school at 11:28 a.m. local time Tuesday. He exited the truck with a rifle and shot at two people across the street, Escalon said.
- The gunman then approached the school and shot at the building multiple times and walked in through an apparently unlocked door at 11:40 a.m., according to Escalon.
- That door is normally locked, “unless you are leaving to go home on the school bus,” former principal Ross McGlothlin told CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday.
- Escalon said the gunman was not confronted by a school resource officer outside the school. The same law enforcement agency previously said an officer had “engaged” him. “He walked in unobstructed initially,” Escalon said. According to the current information available, Escalon said there was not an armed officer readily available.
- Inside, the suspect walked into a classroom and fired more than 25 times, Escalon said. The majority of the gunfire was at the beginning of the attack, he added.
- Officers arrived at the school at 11:44 a.m., but when they went to confront the gunman, they received fire and took cover, Escalon said. They called for more resources and personnel, evacuated students and teachers in other parts of the school, and at some point entered “negotiations” with the suspect, he said.
- A US Border Patrol tactical team came to the classroom, forced entry and fatally shot the suspect after about an hour, he said.
Thursday’s news conference underscored the confusion and disorganization of the police response and failed to answer questions as to how the gunman was able to remain inside the classroom for such a long time.
CNN reported Thursday that the Uvalde school district, where the shooting occurred, had a safety plan that included its own police force, social media monitoring and a threat-reporting system to “provide a safe and secure environment” for students.
The two-page document on the district’s website lists 21 different measures that it says it has undertaken for the safety of the school community, ranging from an app for reporting bullying to physical security measures, like fencing and a buzz-in door system. It’s not clear to what degree the plan was developed with active shooters in mind.
Officials defend response:
- Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez issued a statement Thursday defending his officers’ response to the shooting. Two responding officers were shot by the suspect but are expected to survive. “It is important for our community to know that our officers responded within minutes” alongside school resource officers, he said.
- The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), meanwhile, said officers who responded to the shooting saved lives, despite waiting before physically confronting the suspect who was holed up inside a classroom. A spokesperson for the agency said that officers did not have enough information on the exact location of the shooter to do an immediate takedown.
CNN’s Eric Levenson, Holly Yan, Joe Sutton, Clare Foran and Ted Barrett contributed reporting to this post.