June 27, 2022

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Cops missed shot at killing Uvalde gunman before massacre started

2 min read

An officer on the scene at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas last month allegedly had a clear shot at the gunman who ultimately killed 19 students and two teachers during a mass shooting at the school last month, but elected not to fire out of fear of hitting a student by accident, according to a report from the New York Times.   

The new report published Friday details how the City of Uvalde officer recognized the threat that the gunman posed to the school, but decided it was too dangerous to pull his trigger because kids were on the playground just behind the gunman at the time. 

“According to the officers, they didn’t engage back because in the background there was kids playing and they were scared of hitting the kids,” Chief Deputy Sheriff Ricardo Rios of Zavala County told the Times, retelling his conversations with cops on the scene.  

The gunman was spraying bullets at a nearby funeral home and towards the school building before entering, but officers who first arrived on the scene thought he was directing shots at them, according to Rios. One of the officers told Rios that they took cover behind a patrol car and had the option to return fire but chose not to.  

“I asked him, ‘Why didn’t you shoot? Why didn’t you engage?’ And that’s when he told me about the background,” Rios recounted.


The officer’s choice not to take the shot is the second known opportunity law enforcement missed to kill alleged gunman Salvador Ramos before he entered the school. According to local authorities, a cop with the Uvalde school district’s police force drove past the gunman in the school parking lot just before he entered the building but didn’t notice him.

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Law enforcement’s failure to stop the 18-year-old has been the subject of growing scrutiny and outrage since the shooting some three weeks ago. About 78 minutes passed between initial 911 calls reporting an active shooter at Robb Elementary and Ramos’ death at the hands of federal border patrol agents, according to a Times investigation. 

Parents of Robb Elementary students begged officers to take action; one fed up mother even entered the school to save her two children while the gunman was still shooting. 

Police’s response to the shooting is now the subject of at least three different investigations: the Texas Rangers of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Department of Justice and a special Texas legislative committee are all scrutinizing law enforcement’s operations during the May 24 shooting. 



 

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