By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said children repeatedly called 911 asking for help, including one pleading, “Please send the police now.”
He stressed it was the “wrong decision” not to breach the classroom sooner during Tuesday’s massacre at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
At least 19 children and two adults died before the 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was killed in a shootout with police, authorities said.
Nearly 20 officers stood outside the classroom during the Tuesday attack as Ramos had barricaded himself. McCraw told reporters that law enforcement wanted to ensure that the children were not at risk, but witnesses complained that police could have moved in faster.
Authorities acknowledged that it took 15 to 20 long minutes for officers with shields to arrive at the school, besides the time it took to breach the classroom.
Asked by the media whether the onsite commander owed the victims’ families an apology for not acting more quickly, McCraw replied: “If I thought it would help, I would apologize.”
It was also unclear why authorities didn’t notice the gunman’s threats on social media. McCraw shared details Friday about social-media exchanges from Ramos warning of violence ahead of the shooting. In September of last year, he asked his sister to help him buy a gun. She refused, McCraw said.
In February, Ramos and three others chatted on the Instagram platform about Ramos potentially being a school shooter, McCraw said.
In early March, he also discussed buying a gun in chats on Instagram. On March 14, Ramos wrote on the site “10 more days,” prompting another user to respond: “Are you going to shoot up a school or something?” Ramos replied: “No. Stop asking dumb questions, and you’ll see.”
Majik De la Garza, 20, said he was two years ahead of Ramos in school and recently saw a Facebook post with him holding a sliced-up cat in a bag. He said the image surprised him because he had thought Ramos was a typical teenager.
“All that stuff they were saying about how he was bullied, it wasn’t like that,” added De la Garza. “He would joke around; he was having fun. But that video was dark.”
De la Garza said he was angry that there “were just so, so many cops there, and they blew it.” He added: “This town is never going to be the same.”
Survivors wondered what prompted Ramos to kill more than two dozen people after first shooting his grandmother in this small town with deep Latino roots near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Most of the victims were young children, ages nine till 11, whose lives had just begun. Kimberly Mata-Rubio wrote that her daughter, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, was killed in the shooting only hours after an honor roll ceremony.
In her post on the social media platform Facebook, Mata-Rubio included a photo of Alexandria smiling with her certificate for straight A’s. “My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll,” she wrote. “She also received the good citizen award. We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye.”
Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade-school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
It has revived a debate on the many weapons available in the United States, though supporters of guns claim they prevented many more potential massacres.
U.S. President Joe Biden appeared ready for a fight with the gun lobby. “As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we are going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said this week. “When in God’s name are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
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