An armed Uvalde, Texas police officer spotted the Robb Elementary school shooter, Salvador Ramos, before he entered the school. The officer apparently asked for permission to shoot Ramos, but the supervisor either did not hear the request to shoot or did not respond in time, giving Ramos the time he needed to enter the school.
According to a report released on Wednesday by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT), the gunman entered after being allowed to walk by the officer, where he would o on to kill 19 children and two teachers before a Border Patrol team entered the classroom. He was in the classroom with the students for over 70 minutes.
It is not known why police did not immediately fire at Ramos, who had already started shooting at the school while he walked toward the building.
“In this instance, the UPD officer would have heard gunshots and/or reports of gunshots and observed an individual approaching the school building armed with a rifle. A reasonable officer would conclude in this case, based upon the totality of the circumstances, that use of deadly force was warranted,” the ALERRT center wrote in the report.
The officer has said to investigators that he was concerned for the safety of children if he missed the shot, but ALERRT has noted that the Texas Penal Code says “an individual is justified in using deadly force when the individual reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary to prevent the commission of murder.”
ALERRT says that the officer was about 148 yards away from the exterior door that the gunman entered, which is within the range of an AR-15. Patrol rifle qualifications in Texas do not require officers to fire at targets farther away than 100 yards, however.
Other mistakes were made during the shooting as well. According to ALERRT, a different Uvalde officer drove by the gunman in the parking lot and missed Ramos before he entered the school at 11:33 am.
Another mistake was that a teacher closed an exterior door before Ramos entered, but did not check if the door was locked. She did not have the proper key to lock the door, anyway.
“If any of these three key issues had worked out differently, they could have stopped the tragedy that followed,” ALERRT wrote.
Fox reports: The active shooter training center went on to note three key issues once the gunman was inside the school, including that the classroom door’s lock was broken; two teams of officers were stationed at each end of the hallway, creating the possibility of friendly fire striking an officer; and police lost “momentum” once the suspect fired at the first officers to approach the classroom door.”
“There is a chance that officers will be shot, injured, or even killed while responding. This is something that every officer should be acutely aware of when they become a law enforcement officer,” ALERRT wrote.