By Terrance Turner
May 27, 2022
Note: Portions of the transcribed audio from this conference are missing because my Dell laptop malfunctioned and shut down before they could be corrected for spelling and grammar.
Stephen McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, led a press conference this morning on the deadly shooting in Uvalde, TX, where 19 children and two adults were killed. During the conference, a disturbing series of failures by police and law enforcement in their response were revealed, and McCraw himself admitted that some of the missteps were inexcusable.
“I’ll go today to provide the parents, the community of Uvalde, the public, with as much information as we can and where we are on the investigation,” McCraw said. “We’re here to report the facts as we know them now — not to defend what was done or to criticize what was done, or the actions taken. I’ll begin first and foremost with the timeline as we know it; the second timeline we’ll discuss is the 911 timeline and talk about the relevant social or digital media footprint of the subject. You’ll also have plenty of time for questions at that point.
“At 11:27 we know from video evidence – 11:27, the exterior door suspected of where we knew the shooter entered — Ramos — was propped open by a teacher. 11:28, the suspect’s vehicle crashed into a ditch. As previously described, the teacher runs to room 132 to retreive a phone, and the same teacher walks back to the exit door and the door remains propped open. Where two males — As reported by the director Escalon yesterday, there were two males at a funeral home that, when they heard the crash, they went to the crash scene. When they arrived at the crash scene, before they got there, they saw a man with the gun exit the passenger side with a backpack, and they immediately began running. Ramos began shooting at them, did not hit them. One of the males fell when he was running. Both males returned to the funeral home while they’re running. And there again, we see through video a teacher reemerges inside the school and panicked, apparently calls 911.
(The) 911 call at 11:30 is that there was a crash man with a gun. 11:31 suspect reaches last row of vehicles in the school parking lot 11:31 shooting began at the school while patrol vehicles got to the funeral home.” McCraw then went to a mounted map nearby to give observers a visual guide as to the location of the shooter and the crash.
“There was discussion early on that an ISD Consulate ISD from Uvalde, had an officer — was a resource officer — had confronted the suspect. That did not happen, as already Escalon talked about yesterday. It was certainly stated in preliminary interviews, but often these preliminary interviews and a cursory walkthrough doesn’t reveal the type of information and certainly, you know, police officers like anyone else, under stress, sometimes witnesses get it wrong. But the bottom line is, that officer was not on the scene, not on campus, but had heard the 911 call of the man with the gun. Drove immediately to the area, sped to what he thought was the man with the gun in the back of the school which turned out to be a teacher. where he began shooting at the school.”
11:31 Now in the school parking lot, the gunman begins shooting at the school. Meanwhile, a patrol vehicle arrives at the funeral home. An officer drives into the school parking lot, passing by the gunman, and eventually confronts someone in the parking lot who turns out to be a teacher.
11:32 More shots are fired at the school.
11:33 The suspect enters the school and walks down a hallway toward two classrooms, 111 and 112, which are connected by a bathroom. He fires more than 100 rounds.
11:35 Three Uvalde Police Department officers enter the school through the same door used by the gunman and two are grazed by gunfire. Four more officers later enter the building, including the deputy county sheriff. So a total of seven officers were on the scene. Both doors into the adjoining classrooms where the gunman is located are locked at this time.
11:37 Another 16 rounds are fired.
11:51 The police sergeant and other law enforcement agents start to arrive.
12:03 p.m. By this time, as many as 19 officers have gathered in the school hallway. “At 12:15, BORTAC members arrive,” McCraw said. (According to Texas Monthly, Bortac [Border Patrol Tactical Unit] is the Custom and Border Patrol’s paramilitary force, an elite group of agents trained to exchange gunfire with cartels.) A student calls 911 and whispers that she is in Room 112. The call lasts 1 minute 23 seconds.
A caller identified — I will not say her name, but she was in room 112 — called 911 at 12:03. The duration of the call, was 1 minute and 23 seconds. She identified herself and whispered she’s in room 112.At 12:10, she called back, in room 112, advised there are multiple dead. At 12:13, again, she called on the phone.
Again at 12:16, she’s called back and said there was eight to nine students alive. At 12:19, a 911 call was made, and another person in room 111 called — I will not say her name. She hung up when another student told her to hang up.At 12:21, you could hear over the 911 call that three shots were fired.
At 12:36, a 911 call; it lasted for 21 seconds. The initial caller called back. The student-child called back, and was told to stay on the line and be very quiet. She told 911 that ‘he shot the door’. At approximately 12:43 and 12:47, she asked 911 to please send the police now.
At 12:46, she said she not could not—— that she could hear the police next door. At 12:50, shots are fired; they can be heard over the 911 call.At 12:51, it’s very loud, and sounds like officers are moving children out of the room. At that time, the first child that called was outside before the call cuts off.”
“Additional total information that we have is that there were 58 total magazines at the school left at the crime scheme. 11 of those magazines were at the school; three were on the suspects body, two in room 112, six inside room 111,” McCraw said. He added that there were “32 magazines outside the school on school property: one just outside this school building, and 31 in the suspect’s backpack that he did not take into the classroom, as well. There were 50 magazines at the crash site; there were two magazines at the suspects arrested for a total of 60 magazines he had purchased and had a total of 1,657 total rounds of ammunition. 315 of those rounds were inside the school. 142 were spent cartridges; 173 were live rounds. 922 were outside of the school but on school property. 22 of those were spent cartridges; 900 were live rounds. 422 were at the crash site. 22 were spent cartridges; 400 of those were live rounds. There were 35 spent law enforcement cartridges total at the school.”
In response to a reporter’s first question, McCraw said the on-scene Commander at the time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject.
“Why was this decision made not to go in and rescue the children?” a reporter asked.
“Again the on-scene Commander had considered a barricaded subject and that there was time and that there were no children at risk. Obviously based on the information we have there were children in that classroom that were at risk and it was in fact still an active shooter situation and not a barricaded subject,” McCraw said.
“The decision was made on the scene; I wasn’t there. At the same point in time, a decision was made that this was a barricaded subject situation; there was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject at that point that was the decision that was thought process at that particular point in time. From the benefit of hindsight — where I’m sitting now — of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that.
But again, I wasn’t there. I’m just telling you from what we know.”