Twisted killer Salvador Ramos was not confronted by a school safety as he entered Robb Elementary School “unobstructed” to commit his massacre Tuesday, said law enforcement officials, who rolled back earlier reports that an officer had engaged him.
Officials also reveled Thursday that Ramos had fired most of his shots shortly after entering the school through an unlocked door, leaving 19 children and two school teachers dead.
“During that time, right now, according to the information we have, the majority of the gunfire was in the beginning,” Victor Escalon, South Texas director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said at the briefing.
“I’d say numerous. More than 25. There was a lot of gunfire in the beginning,” he said. “During the negotiations, there wasn’t much gunfire other than trying to keep the officers at bay.”
It took almost an hour before Ramos was shot dead by a special US Border Patrol tactical team — well after the carnage was over.
Asked why police did not rush in sooner, Escalon said “there are a lot of possibilities.”
“Could anybody have gotten there sooner? You have to understand, small town.”
Ramos’s reign of terror began when he shot his grandmother in the face, then took her pickup truck and drove about a mile to the elementary school and crashed into a ditch at 11:20 a.m.
Escalon said the first shots fired by Ramos were aimed at two bystanders outside a funeral home across the street, before “shooting at the school multiple times” before going in around 11:30 a.m. Police followed about four minutes later following 911 calls.
“They hear gunfire, they take rounds,” he said of responding cops. “They move back, get cover, and during that time they approached where the suspect is at.
“Officers are there, the initial officers, they receive gunfire,” he said. “They don’t make entry initially because of the gunfire they’re receiving.”
He said that officer did not move on the room Ramos was in for nearly an hour, until a team of heavily armed Border Patrol agents arrived and killed him. According to reports, the officers waited for a school employee to get a key to the classroom, which had by then been locked.
“During that time that they’re making those calls to bring in help to solve this problem and stop it immediately, they’re also evacuation personnel,” Escalon said. “There’s a lot going on. … They’re taking gunfire, negotiations, and developing a team to make entry.”
One law enforcement expert told The Post on Thursday that the delay in rushing the school may have been “a very serious error” by law enforcement.
“There are a number of issues here,” said Maria Haberfeld, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. “You have multiple agencies on the scene with no coordination. So, this is already an issue.
“In my mind, there should have been an immediate response with the first force response,” Haberfield said. “Every second, every minute that you wait, you are going to have another casualty.”
Recently retired Nowell, New Jersey, Police Chief Andrew Kudrick said the incident and police response highlights the need for joint training between agencies.
“That’s why it’s so important to train together,” Kudrick said. “You can’t be inclusive of one agency. We train monthly but we get together and train as a collective.
“Those types of situations are so chaotic and it’s a lot to process for officers on the scene if they haven’t practiced together — especially if they didn’t practice together,” he said. “It’s just chaotic and it just changes the whole landscape.”
However, the ex-chief also said the cops outside the Texas school Tuesday were perhaps “just slowing things down and trying to develop a quick plan.”
For anguished parents, the delay in cops going into the school was unbearable, with many angrily confronting cops over the lull in the police response outside the Uvalde school.
“I’m upset like every other parent, every grandmother because these were somebody’s kids,” Juanita Garza, whose grandson attends the school. told The Post on Thursday.
“They should have been protected,” Garza said. “We are all wondering what happened?
“Where were they that this could have been prevented?” she asked. “That’s what I’m upset about.”
Mom Veronica Gonzalez said she had the same questions — and others.
“I get a lump in my throat and I feel sick,” she said. “They need to find out what happened The front door was always open. Anyone could walk in. There’s never a lock.”