Federal agents ignored orders from local police and went after the shooter who killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, according to reports Friday.
Border Patrol agents took matters into their own hands after waiting roughly 30 minutes to lead a "stack" formation of officers inside Robb Elementary School, federal law enforcement officials told NBC News.
A member of BORTAC, or the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, has been credited with fatally shooting the gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who had barricaded himself in a classroom.
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An off-duty BORTAC agent was the first to arrive. The agent “basically said let’s get this done" and began planning a way into the room, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told the Washington Post. More BORTAC agents arrived around 15 minutes later, and within minutes of getting a key to unlock the door, a variety of law enforcement officers followed a leading BORTAC agent holding a ballistic shield provided by a U.S. marshal.
The same source said the shooter was hiding in a closet at the time and burst out firing at the officials, who returned fire and killed Ramos. One BORTAC agent received minor injuries after his head was grazed by a bullet and his foot struck by shrapnel.
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed. The report noted that agents saw children piled up and huddled together around the room, some of them alive and others dead.
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The gunman had at least 15 bullet holes in him after being shot by BORTAC agents and local law enforcement, senior U.S. law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Peter Arredondo, the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, has been identified as the official who stopped at least 19 officers from barging into the school for up to an hour to stop the shooter. Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday that the delay, based on the view that there was not an active threat, was a "wrong decision."
A CNN reporter shared details about efforts to try and talk with Arredondo, who spoke at a press conference Tuesday, as more information comes to light about just how long it took law enforcement to stop the rampage as desperate parents shouted at officers outside the school to go in and stop Ramos.
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"We’ve actually been trying. We’ve been reaching out to him. We’ve been to his home to try and get some response from him. I think this is an important part of this investigation now. His thinking of these decisions that he made — clearly wrong decisions that everyone now agrees and is saying so. But why did he make these decisions and ... who is going to hold him accountable? That still remains to be seen," Shimon Prokupecz, a CNN crime and justice correspondent, reported on air Friday evening.
Uvalde is a town of roughly 16,000 people, situated between San Antonio and Del Rio, and is just dozens of miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. Arredondo was elected to Uvalde's city council earlier this month and is set to be sworn in next Tuesday, according to the Uvalde-Leader News.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) said Friday he was "misled" about the police response to the shooting, which remains under investigation, and is "livid" about receiving inaccurate information. "My expectation is that the law enforcement leaders that are leading the investigations, which includes the Texas Rangers and the FBI, they get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty," Abbott said.