Frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman's rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, witnesses said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team.
"Go in there! Go in there!" nearby women shouted at the officers soon after the attack began, said Juan Carranza, 24, who saw the scene from outside his house, across the street from Robb Elementary School in the close-knit town of Uvalde. Carranza said the officers did not go in.
Javier Cazares, whose fourth grade daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, said he raced to the school when he heard about the shooting, arriving while police were still gathered outside the building.
Upset that police were not moving in, he raised the idea of charging into the school with several other bystanders.
"Let's just rush in because the cops aren't doing anything like they are supposed to," he said. "More could have been done."
"They were unprepared," he added.
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Minutes earlier, Carranza had watched as Salvador Ramos crashed his truck into a ditch outside the school, grabbed his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and shot at two people outside a nearby funeral home who ran away uninjured.
Officials say he "encountered" a school district security officer outside the school, though there were conflicting reports from authorities on whether the men exchanged gunfire. After running inside, he fired on two arriving Uvalde police officers who were outside the building, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine. The police officers were injured.
After entering the school, Ramos charged into one classroom and began to kill.
He "barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom," Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety told CNN. "It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter."
All those killed were in the same classroom, he said.
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told reporters that 40 minutes to an hour elapsed from when Ramos opened fire on the school security officer to when the tactical team shot him, though a department spokesman said later that they could not give a solid estimate of how long the gunman was in the school or when he was killed.
"The bottom line is law enforcement was there," McCraw said. "They did engage immediately. They did contain (Ramos) in the classroom."
The agent and two colleagues who confronted the shooter belong to the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, known as Bortac. [...]
Bortac agents typically carry their gear, such as helmets, tactical vests and shields, in their cars and were able to quickly ready themselves to help breach the school building, officials said Wednesday.
Several of them helped make a plan with other responding officers to breach the building and later the classroom, according to federal authorities.
Initially, the Bortac agents couldn't get into the classroom where shooter Salvador Ramos locked himself because of a steel door and cinder block construction, according to law-enforcement officials familiar with what happened. Meanwhile, the 18 year-old gunman shot at them and other officers through the door and walls.
The Bortac agents got a master key from the school principal that allowed them to enter the room, according to the officials. One Bortac agent took rounds to their shield upon entering and a second was wounded by shrapnel. A third killed the suspect.
To be clear it appears the BORTAC Agent possessed a ballistic shield allowing him to breach the classroom and challenge the shooter which supports why he took rounds to the top of his head and feet https://t.co/KDWJwP59wL