Texas Lieutenant Defends Uvalde Cops Waiting for Backup: ‘They Could’ve Been Shot’

·3 min read
Fox News
Fox News

In the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, state law enforcement has been receiving widespread criticism as the public learns more about what officers did and did not do to end the active shooter situation.

While Department of Public Safety officials initially said the gunman, Salvador Ramos, was confronted by an armed officer outside the school, those same authorities denied that version of events at a press conference Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported that the gunman fired shots for 12 minutes after crashing his truck outside the school before walking in “unobstructed.” Police arrived on scene four minutes later “and exchanged gunfire with Ramos, who locked himself in a fourth-grade classroom.”

According to the story, it was around 12:40 p.m.—about an hour later—when a Border Patrol tactical team entered the school, and then the classroom, and killed the gunman. In that time, parent Angeli Rose Gomez said she was handcuffed by U.S. Marshals outside the school, was later freed, hopped a fence, went into the school, grabbed her children, and fled. Videos from that time show frustrated and frantic parents urging officers to act.

“The police were doing nothing,” Gomez told the Journal. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”

Victor Escalon, a DPS official, said Thursday that officers called “everyone that’s in the area” to help. They then waited on “specialty equipment” and body armor.

And so on Thursday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had some pressing questions for Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez.

“Don’t current best practices, Lieutenant, call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?” Blitzer asked.

“Correct,” Olivarez replied. “In 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 is that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots,” Olivarez 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 at that point that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school,” he continued. “So they were able to contain that gunman inside that classroom so that he was not able to go to any other portions of the school to commit any other killings.”

Blitzer also asked Olivarez why authorities initially claimed an armed officer confronted the shooter outside the school.

“So that’s information that we received early on in this investigation,” he responded.

“That goes back to what I mentioned earlier by trying to corroborate all this information by getting factual statements from these witnesses,” he added. “The Texas Rangers are now conducting interviews with those officers trying to establish exactly what was their role, and that will help us establish a more factual, concrete timeline.”

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