Crosses with names of deceased students with the words "Robb Elementary School" in the background.

Jinitzail Hernandez/Shutterstock

Judging the News

Jinitzail Hernandez/Shutterstock

What Really Happened in Uvalde? 

Nearly three weeks after the shooting massacre at a Texas elementary school, we still have way more questions than answers, and law enforcement is not helping with any of it. 

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It has been nearly three weeks since 18-year-old Salvador Ramos walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, armed with an AR-15 style rifle and opened fire on young children and teachers alike. The shooting happened just ten days after another mass shooting took place in Buffalo, N.Y., killing 10. In the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting, 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered, and 18 others were injured including two police officers and the shooter’s own grandmother. 

The shooter himself was killed by officers inside the school, but only after he had slaughtered a classroom full of children. 

In the aftermath of this horrific tragedy, confusion has led to outrage as police response to the shooting has fallen under scrutiny, and the conflicting narratives law enforcement has given have left the public with more questions than answers. 

So what really happened that day in Uvalde, Texas, and what is to come next? 

This week’s edition of Judging the News is dedicated to those who died senselessly in this horrific (and not even the latest) act of gun violence. 

Here is everything we know and have heard about the tragedy that took place on May 24, 2022. 

A timeline of events

The Texas Tribune has put together a timeline of events leading up to that day and what happened during the shooting. Their information comes from the Texas Department of Public Safety via a May 27 press conference. Information was also provided by Gov. Greg Abbott and state Sen. John Whitmire. 

The highlights: 

  • Before he turned 18, the gunman asked his sister in Sept. 2021 to help him purchase a gun. She refused. 
  • In March of 2022, the gunman began making posts on Instagram about guns, including one that sounds like a threat of impending violence. 
  • The shooter turned 18 on May 16, after which he was able to legally purchase two AR-15 style rifles and 375 rounds of ammo. The purchases were made on May 17 and May 20. 
  • On the morning of the shooting, the shooter messaged a girl in Germany and told her he planned to shoot his grandmother. He then shot his grandmother in the face, stole her car, and drove to Robb Elementary, which was 2 miles from his house. 
  • He wrecks the vehicle outside a funeral home that is near the school. Two men from the funeral home come out after hearing the accident. The gunman fires at them, and they run back inside and call 911. 
  • A teacher who saw the crash calls 911 and informs them that the shooter is armed. 
  • After entering the school through a back door, he fires at least 100 rounds into classrooms 111 and 112. 
  • Three Uvalde police officers enter the school through the same door the shooter used. He fires at them and they get hit with grazing wounds, causing them to retreat. 
  • The gunman continues shooting. 
  • 911 received at least 8 phone calls from children inside the two classrooms asking for help. 

What is unclear is how the police actually handled the shooting

The problem with only reporting what the police say is that police don’t always get it right. In fact, sometimes they flat out lie—whether to cover up wrongdoing or errors. The narrative from law enforcement in Texas has changed many times since the shooting occurred. 

For example: Law enforcement initially said the gunman was able to enter the school because a teacher had left a door propped open. When said teacher’s lawyer pushed back on that narrative, the story changed to the teacher had closed the door, but the automatic latch had failed. 

According to the Tribune, Uvalde school district Police Chief Pete Arredondo made the decision to wait for more resources before engaging the shooter. Officials want to know why, but according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Arredondo stopped cooperating with state investigators and would not respond to requests for information. ABC News reports that the Uvalde Police Department followed suit

Could it be because something in the story is not adding up? Insider put together this handy guide of the at least 13 times Texas law enforcement changed the narrative about what happened that day. 

The highlights:

  • Law enforcement originally reported they had the gunman in custody. Ramos was actually fatally shot inside the school. 
  • It was originally reported that the gunman was confronted outside the school by a school resource officer. It was later revealed that not only did that not happen, but the resource officer was not even on campus that day. 
  • There was a 12-minute gap of time that was unaccounted for because police initially said the gunman entered the school at 11:40 a.m., 12 minutes after he crashed his car outside the funeral home. That later changed, and it was reported he entered at 11:33 a.m.
  • The teacher/door narrative: Police originally claimed they had video evidence that a teacher had left a door propped open. They later said she closed the door but the automatic lock didn’t work. There has been no explanation given for why they claimed they had video footage of the door being left open. 
  • A day after the shooting, law enforcement officials said officers immediately engaged the shooter on campus. One claimed on Today that officers responded “within a moment’s notice” and “without hesitation tried to make entry into the school” but were stopped by gunfire. It was later reported that three local police officers entered the school two minutes after the shooter, and two of them were grazed by his bullets. A later story from law enforcement said “police exchanged gunfire with the suspect until 11:44 a.m. By 11:51 a.m. a police sergeant and federal agent arrived and as of 12:03, there were 19 police officers in the hallway outside the classroom where the gunman was holed up.”
  • There are still many questions about why police didn’t stop the shooter because
    • DPS Regional Director for South Texas Victor Escalon was asked flat out why officers didn’t take down the shooter while he was in the classroom with children. His response: “That’s a tough question.”
    • Parents who were outside the school report that officers outside not only refused to go into the school but prevented parents from entering as well. 
    • There is video from outside the school that shows officers holding parents back and preventing them from going inside. 
    • One mother was handcuffed by police for trying to get into the school. She eventually made her way in and got her two children to safety herself. 
    • Texas officials say Arredondo gave the order not to engage the shooter because he believed him to be barricaded inside a classroom with no children at risk. This was, of course, tragically false. 

As more information came out about the shooting and law enforcement’s anemic response to it, Gov. Greg Abbott, who just days before had praised law enforcement’s response, said on May 27, “I was misled.”

“I am livid about what happened,” he said. “As everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. And I am absolutely livid about that.”

We were misled too. And we are also livid. 

And we still don’t know why it took more than an hour for the police to do anything. 

This is the problem when outlets simply report what the police are saying and use that as the narrative. The police don’t always get it right, and as stated earlier, sometimes they flat out lie. The narrative from law enforcement in Texas has shifted so many times, it’s almost as if they are making it up as they go along. 

Whether it was incompetence, fear, or something else, law enforcement in Uvalde failed those inside the school terribly. They failed their families. They failed that community, and they failed all of us. 

We shouldn’t be reading about children being massacred in the news, and that information definitely shouldn’t come with a narrative that reveals law enforcement dragged their feet in stopping something so horrific as this. 

I am incredibly uneasy about what we may find out as time goes on. Specifically, what are police hiding? 

My fear is that we are going to find out some of those who were shot were hit with law enforcement bullets. I pray that is not the case, but I would not be surprised to find out it is. 

More notes on this incident:

The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation into the police response to the shooting. Today, they announced that the investigation will examine issues including policies, training, communications, deployment and incident command, tactics, and practices as they relate to preparing for and responding to active shooter events, as well as the post-incident response. It will also include a review of survivor and victim family support and resources.”

It has been reported that Uvalde City Hall locked its doors and refused to provide information to reporters inquiring about the shooting. 

It is utterly egregious that an 11-year-old 4th grader has to testify before Congress about watching her classmates and friends die in a shooting massacre. She told Congress that she covered herself with her classmate’s blood and tried to be very quiet and still. She is also the one who called 911 from the classroom using her dead teacher’s phone MULTIPLE TIMES. 

Meanwhile, a pediatrician told Congress what he saw in victims after the shooting. “Those mothers’ cries, I will never get out of my head,” Dr. Guerrero told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during a hearing on gun violence. He added: “I know I’ll never forget what I saw that day.”

The gun Ramos used in the shooting was a Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 that retails for $1,900. Daniel Defense, the company that makes the gun, pulled out of the NRA convention in Houston just days after the shooting

A Texas DPS official said on live TV that officers were reluctant to engage the shooter because “they could have been shot.” Oh. You mean like the 19 children and two teachers NOT sworn to serve and protect who died? 

Because according to Scientific American, more children die each year from gunfire than on-duty police officers and active duty military members. 

Uvalde had done active shooter drills before, but they did not help in this instance. 

This is a very interesting thread about the training of Uvalde police officers. 

Other news you can use

Investigators are looking into whether or not a retired federal agent knew about the Buffalo shooter’s plans before the shooting happened. 

You know how I know this country doesn’t care about poor people? One woman waited 29 years before getting approved for affordable housing. 

Kyle Rittenhouse paints himself as a victim, as he cries about his senior year of high school being “robbed” from him. Hm. Maybe don’t cross state lines, acquire an illegal firearm and kill people? That might work for you. 

Pulse Oximeters help diagnose the severity of Covid-19, but a recent study revealed the machines are less effective for people of color because they inaccurately read dark skin tones.

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