Police officers held parents back and pinned one father to the ground outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday while a gunman opened fire for more than 40 minutes inside before a Border Patrol tactical agent and other officers stopped him.
Video shared by journalist and Amnesty International media manager Stefan Simanowitz showed a crowd of parents begging officers gathered outside the school to go in and stop the shooting. An officer could be seen pinning one man to the ground behind a parked car as onlookers shouted.
Later in the video shared by Simanowitz, several officers with plate carriers and rifles could be seen urging parents away from an area outside the school that police had cordoned off.
The Associated Press reported that multiple parents urged police standing outside the school to enter the building to confront the gunman. Witness Juan Carranza, 24, told the Associated Press he saw multiple women shouting at officers, “Go in there. Go in there.”
Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn Cazares was killed in the attack, told the Associated Press he raced over to the school when he heard about the shooting. He was upset to see police officers not going in and said he raised the idea of going into the school with other bystanders instead of waiting for the police to act.
“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” Cazares said. “More could have been done.”
Officials told members of the press that the gunman “encountered” a school district security officer outside the school, though reports are unclear if the two exchanged gunfire. Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine said after getting inside the building, the gunman fired on two responding Uvalde police officers who were outside the building. Both officers were injured.
Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the gunman entered a classroom and locked himself inside, where he began killing students.
The gunman “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom,” Olivarez said. “It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.”
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said between 40 minutes and an hour transpired between when the gunman first encountered the school security officer and when a responding Border Patrol agent confronted the shooter. A DPS spokesperson could not say how long the gunman was inside the school.
“The bottom line is law enforcement was there,” McCraw told reporters. “They did engage immediately. They did contain (Ramos) in the classroom.”
The shooting came to an end when a member of the Border Patrol’s Tactical Unit (BORTAC) entered the building with other officers and found where the gunman was barricaded. A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press that responding officers had trouble getting into the classroom and ultimately had to get a school staff member to provide a key to enter the locked room.
In total, the gunman killed 19 children and two adults before he was fatally shot. 17 other people were wounded throughout the gunman’s attack.