When Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrived at Robb Elementary School during the shooting, they were held back by Uvalde Police for nearly an hour, according to a new report.
It was an agent, or agents, from BORTAC, an elite Border Patrol tactical team, who ultimately gained access to the room and killed the shooter — as Uvalde Police stood back.
Risking their own lives, these Border Patrol Agents and other officers put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims and save lives.
— Marsha (Catron) Espinosa (@MCatronDHS) May 25, 2022
According to a report from the New York Times, Border Patrol arrived at the scene between 12 p.m. and 12:10 p.m. after driving up from the Mexican border, according to two officials that they spoke to on the condition of anonymity. This arrival time is much earlier than previously believed.
They were not able to breach the adjoining classrooms where the gunman was until just before 1 p.m. because they were not allowed entry.
“The officials said that members of the Uvalde Police Department kept the federal agents from going in sooner,” the Times report states. “The new details deepened questions about the tactics used to respond to the shooting and the length of time it took officers on the scene to end the carnage.”
The report continued, “the federal agents reported that they arrived to a scene of chaos — people pulling children out of windows while the local police, carrying only handguns and a few rifles, were trying to secure a perimeter, according to one official, who like the other spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.”
“The Border Patrol and ICE agents did not understand why they were left to wait, according to the official. Eventually, the specialized Border Patrol team went into the building.”
The agent, or one of the agents, involved with neutralizing the shooter, was injured by gunfire.
The Uvalde Police had reportedly attempted to enter the room as the shooting was underway, but two officers were shot and injured prompting them to fall back.
There were still children alive inside the room with the shooter, including one who covered herself in a peers blood to play dead and a young girl who was in the room bleeding out, only to later die in the hospital.
On Thursday, Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that police were reluctant to engage the killer because they “could have been shot.”
“Don’t current best practices, don’t they call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?” Blitzer asked Olivarez.
“They could’ve been shot. They could’ve been killed,” Texas police lieutenant explains why law enforcement did not go into Uvalde school right away. pic.twitter.com/lfzTtAQqFg
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) May 27, 2022
The official explained that law enforcement had decided to wait for a tactical team to arrive while isolating the killer to that class, where children remained alive and desperately calling 9-1-1 for help.
“The active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life, but also one thing that – of course, the American people need to understand — that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots,” the DPS official said.
“At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school,” Olivarez continued.