Growing calls for FBI to investigate police response to Uvalde massacre

Growing calls for FBI to investigate police response to Uvalde massacre
Officials have not been able to answer why officers left gunman alone for one hour while parents pleaded with law enforcement to save their children

Texas congressman Joaquin Castro has pressed FBI director Christopher Wray to investigate the police response to the massacre of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where authorities have “provided the public with conflicting accounts that are at odds with those provided by witnesses.”

“The people of Uvalde, of Texas, and of the nation deserve an accurate account of what transpired” during the attack on 24 May, Congressman Castro wrote in a letter dated 26 May.

“Your agency must ensure that the American people have a complete and comprehensive account of how this tragedy occurred,” said the congressman, who represents a district that ecompasses parts of San Antonio, roughly 80 miles from the town.

His letter follows conflicting and often wildly contradictory statements from Texas authorities, including a false statement that a school-assigned officer fired at the gunman before he entered the school, and a failure to fully account for the hour that followed.

“I urge the FBI to use its maximum authority to thoroughly examine the timeline of events and the law enforcement response and to produce a full, timely, and transparent report on your findings,” Rep Castro wrote.

Officials at a chaotic press conference on 26 May were not able to answer why it took officers more than one hour to breach the fourth-grade classroom that Salvador Ramos entered, and whether he killed the children inside before or after parents were outside the school pleading with officers to enter while law enforcement kept them at bay.

Earlier this week, Travis Considine, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, claimed that Ramos “encountered” an officer outside the school and “they exchange[d] gunfire”.

Victor Escalon, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said on Thursday that not only is that account not accurate, there was no officer on campus. The gunman walked into an unlocked door.

Police responded to the scene within four minutes, but law enforcement waited more than an hour to enter the school, shortly after 1pm, when a sharpshooter with the United States Border Patrol tactical team fatally shot Ramos.

Witnesses – including parents who rushed to the school after the district issued a warning that there was an active shooter shortly after noon on Tuesday – have said that they “unsuccessfully urged law enforcement to enter the building during this time,” Congressman Castro said.

The officers are “making these calls to get help, they’re also evacuating students, teachers,” within that hour, according to Mr Escalon. “There’s a lot going on.”

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