As the events of the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas, continue to unfold, it has been discovered that city police officers hesitated and passed up chances to take a shot at the shooter and stop him.
On May 24, Salvador Ramos, 18, showed up at Robb Elementary school in the small town of Uvalde.
Ramos then entered the school and killed 19 children and two teachers.
But now details are coming out that show police did not stop Ramos when they had the chance.
One Uvalde city police officer was armed with an AR-15-style rifle, The New York Times reported.
The officer had a brief chance to shoot at the gunman, but because he did not want to hit any children, he hesitated, a senior sheriff’s deputy reported.
Chief Deputy Ricardo Rios recounted his conversation with one of the officers.
“I asked him, ‘Why didn’t you shoot? Why didn’t you engage?’ And that’s when he told me about the background,” he said. “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.”
This was not the only missed opportunity at Robb Elementary school that day.
Officials reported that another officer from a different department, the Uvalde school district police force, arrived early at the scene but did not see the gunman in the parking lot and drove past him, the Times reported.
According to reports, police quickly arrived at the school, but there was a delay in confronting the shooter as he began shooting inside the fourth-grade classrooms.
“It also made clear the agonizing decisions law enforcement officers had to make as they confronted the gunman, who was firing shots outside the school; the officer who arrived with a rifle had only seconds to make a decision, and feared that firing his weapon could have meant hitting children, the senior sheriff’s deputy said,” the Times reported.
The police response to the tragedy is under intense investigation now.
The Texas Rangers, the U.S. Department of Justice and a special committee of the Texas Legislature are all looking into the details of how the police handled the situation and response.
All these inquiries are looking particularly into the one hour and 17 minutes that elapsed from the time Ramos entered the classrooms and began shooting at 11:33 a.m., until a team of Border Patrol agents and a sheriff’s deputy from Zavala County finally entered the classrooms and killed the shooter at 12:50 p.m.
The investigations so far show that several officers arrived at the school before Ramos even went inside. They rushed to the scene following 911 calls around 11:29 a.m. that a truck had crashed near the school and that the driver was shooting.
According to reports, at least two law enforcement cars arrived quickly, the Times reported.
One officer came from the small police force that patrols Uvalde’s schools. The other arrived less than a minute later, at 11:32 a.m., with officers from the Uvalde Police Department.
According to accounts, the gunman did engage these officers when they arrived at the scene.
“My understanding, after talking to several officers that were there, was that the gunman engaged two City of Uvalde officers when they got there, outside the building,” Chief Deputy Rios said.
Rios said the two officers, including one with the long gun, took cover behind a patrol car. They wanted to return fire, he said, but held off for fear of hitting the nearby children.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.