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Officers guard the memorial by the entrance to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Jintak Han

Texas shooting: Officials say gunman was in school for around 40 minutes before being killed

Details of how the mass shooting took place are beginning to emerge.

THE GUNMAN WHO killed 19 children and two teachers inside a Texas elementary school on Tuesday was inside the building for around 40 minutes before he was killed, officials have revealed.

Details of the rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde are beginning to emerge, though investigators have shed no light on the killer’s motive for the latest attack, which also left at least 17 people wounded.

Briefing reporters last night, the state’s Governor Greg Abbott revealed that teen shooter Salvador Ramos – who was killed by Border Force agents – first shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before heading to the school.

The gunman went on social media to share his plan to attack his grandmother – who though gravely injured was able to alert the police.

He then messaged again to say his next target was a school, where he headed clad in body armour and wielding an AR-15 rifle.

Officials say that Ramos initially “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, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine said. 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”, 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.

As a crowd grew nearby, police arrived on the scene in response to a report of a crashed vehicle. Hearing shots coming from the school, they ran inside and themselves came under gunfire.

Some police started to break windows and evacuate children and teachers from the premises.

Law enforcement on site helped pin the shooter in place until a tactical team that included US Border Patrol agents was assembled.

“Upon entering the building, agents and other law enforcement officers faced gunfire from the subject, who was barricaded inside,” said Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Marsha Espinosa.

Law enforcement officers “put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims,” she 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.

Officers urged to charge 

The tragedy is the latest in a seemingly unending wave of mass shootings across the US in recent years. Just ten days earlier, ten black people were shot to death in a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

The attack was the deadliest school shooting in the US since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Texas has some of the most gun-friendly laws in the nation and has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the US over the past five years.

Witnesses to the shooting have revealed that they urged police officers to charge into the building as the attack occurred.

Javier Cazares, whose 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.

24-year-old Juan Carranza, who saw the scene from outside his house, across the street, also recalled how nearby women shouted at police officers soon after the attack began.

He also said he had watched as the gunman, Salvador Ramos, crashed his truck into a ditch outside the school, grabbed his semi-automatic rifle and shot at two people outside a nearby funeral home who ran away uninjured.

He said the officers should have entered the school sooner.

“There were more of them. There was just one of him,” he said.

- © AFP 2022 with reporting from Press Association.

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