Six unanswered questions about the Uvalde shooting and investigation in Texas

Six unanswered questions about the Uvalde shooting and investigation in Texas
Major questions remain about motive and effectiveness of police response

The eyes of the nation are on the small town of Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos shot and killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.

Law enforcement officers shot and killed the teenager after he carried out the massacre, but the investigation continues into what drove Ramos to open fire at the school and how such violence can be prevented in the future.

Local law enforcement has also faced increasing scrutiny over its response to the attack as it unfolded.

Here are six unanswered questions about the horrific shooting:

What was Salvador Ramos’ motive?

It’s been less than two full days since Ramos attacked Robb Elementary school, and police are still working to determine the motive behind the massacre, the second-deadliest recorded school shooting in US history.

le enquête, being led by the Texas Rangers, with assistance from federal agents at the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, has served search warrants and gathered phone and other records. Officials are also working to contact Ramos’ relatives and trace the guns used in the shooting.

No definitive motive has emerged so far, and there’s been no indication so far that Ramos left behind an extensive manifesto or diary in the way accused white supremacist Buffalo supermarket gunman Payton Gendron did.

Jusqu'à présent, only fragments of information have emerged: that Ramos was lonely and the victim of bullying; that he got into frequent arguments avec his mother and eventually moved out to live with his grandparents; that he and his father had a tense relationship and spent long periods apart; that he wasn’t set to graduate high school and chafed against Covid restriction; that he frequently played violent video games and flaunted weapons he purchased on social media; that he messaged seeming strangers online about his plan to shoot his grandmother then an elementary school.

Why didn’t police stop Salvador Ramos sooner?

Texas officials praised the bravery of police for confronting the shooter, after a team of highly trained Border Patrol agents eventually breached the school building where Ramos was holed up and shot the teenager, sustaining injuries in the process.

But as more details emerge about the law enforcement response to the shooting, many are asking whether they failed to prevent the tragedy, as police took between 40 minutes and an hour to engage and kill Ramos, even as he massacred scores of students hiding in a single classroom.

Police may have encountered Ramos multiple times before he gained access to Robb Elementary School.

Officials initially said he “encountered” a school police officer outside the school, though there were conflicting reports from authorities on whether the men exchanged gunfire.

At a news conference on Thursday, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) then contradicted those reports, described how Ramos “walked in unobstructed initially.”

<p>Texas Department of Public Safety South Regional Director Victor Escalon gives an update into the investigation following a mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Etats-Unis, 26 May 2022. According to Texas officials, au moins 19 children and two adults were killed in the shooting on 24 Mai. The eighteen-year-old gunman was killed by responding officers.  EPA/TANNEN MAUpY</p>

Texas Department of Public Safety South Regional Director Victor Escalon gives an update into the investigation following a mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Etats-Unis, 26 Mai 2022. According to Texas officials, au moins 19 children and two adults were killed in the shooting on 24 Mai. The eighteen-year-old gunman was killed by responding officers. EPA/TANNEN MAURY

“He was not confronted by anybody, to clear the record on that.”

After running inside, he fired on two arriving Uvalde police officers who were outside the building, DPS spokesperson Travis Considine said previously. The police officers were injured.

Jeudi, the DPS added that once Ramos was inside, responding officers pursued him, but fell back after taking heavy gun fire. De là, they began radioing for backup, beginning evacuations, and attempting unsuccessful negotiations with the armed teen.

A state police spokesperson said officers intentionally contained Ramos inside the classroom where he killed all 21 victims as a way to prevent him from roaming through the school, a highly controversial decision.

“At that point, if they pursued it any further — not knowing where the suspect was at — they could’ve been shot; they could’ve been killed and, at that point, that gunman would have the opportunity to kill other people inside that school,” Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez said in a Thursday interview with CNN.

“They were able to contain that gunman inside that classroom so that he was not able to go to any other portions of the school to commit any other killings," il ajouta.

Ramos remained inside the school long enough that parents were able to mass outside, where video captured them yelling at crowds of heavily armed police officers to take action and engage the shooter.

Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn was killed in the shooting, a déclaré à l'Associated Press he sped to the school once he heard news of the unfolding attack.

He said parents became so enraged at the apparent inaction of police he considered rallying a group of bystanders and charging the building himself.

“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he remembers saying. “More could have been done.”

“They were unprepared," il ajouta.

How was Salvador Ramos able to enter the school and barricade himself inside?

Around 11.30am, Ramos arrived at Robb Elementary in a truck he stole from his grandparents and crashed outside the school. De là, he climbed a fence and was able to enter the school building.

Police say they’re still investigating whether, et si oui, why, the classroom he entered was unlocked.

<p>Salvador Ramos </p>

Salvador Ramos

“We will find out as much as we can why it was unlocked, or maybe it was unlocked, we’ll find out,” a DPS officer said during the news conference on Thursday.

Ramos was then able to “barricade” himself inside the classroom, where all of the killings were believed to have taken place.

Even once an elite Border Patrol commando team known as Bortac arrived on the scene, they were unable to breach the classroom because of a steel door and cinder block construction, lele journal Wall Street rapports. They were eventually able to get inside once they got a key to the room from the principal.

Were there any red flags that should’ve stopped Salvador Ramos from getting a gun?

Texas has some of the loosest gun regulations in the country, and it appears Ramos was legally entitled to buy the assault rifle he used in the massacre, despite numerous indications from friends and family that he was an angry young man who flaunted owning weapons.

He purchased the two AR-15-style rifles legally shortly after turning 18, and in Texas it’s legal to carry such rifles in public without any special license or permit. At most, his purchases may have been reported into an ATF database tracking when multiple assault weapons are purchased near the US Border.

Police have said Ramos had no documented criminal record or mental health issues known to authorities ahead of the shooting.

Will Congress or states finally pass gun control legislation?

After numerous mass shootings in the US, it’s still unclear whether members of Congress or the Texas legislature have the political conviction to pass any effective gun control measures.

Avec un 50-50 Sénat, and an unwillingness on the part of moderate Democrats to do away with the filibuster, all gun legislation at the federal level would have to be bipartisan, and many Republicans balk at even the most nominal attempts to regulate firearms.

Encore, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’s directing his fellow Republican John Cornyn of Texas to work with Democrats and find a bipartisan solution on guns.

“As you know he went home yesterday to see the family members and begin the fact finding of this awful massacre and I have encouraged him to talk with Sen Murphy and Sen Sinema and others who are interested in trying to get an outcome that is directly related to the problem. I am hopeful that we could come up with a bipartisan solution,” Mr McConnell Raconté CNN.

Au Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has said guns are not the problem, and rather mental health issues are. He’s promised to take a look at investing more in care.

“The ability of an 18-year-old to buy a long gun has been in place in the state of Texas for more than 60 années, and think about during the time over the course of that 60 années, we have not had episodes like this," il said on Wednesday.

“One thing that has substantially changed," il a continué, “is the status of mental health in our communities. What I do know is this: we as a state, we as a society, need to do a better job with mental health. Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge, period.”

What comes next?

Police will continue conducting searches, entretiens, gun traces, and reviewing security footage as they investigate the Uvalde shooting.

Texas state police are also reportedly investigating the police response to the shooting itself, amid concerns that officers failed to act quickly enough to save children from being slaughtered inside Robb Elementary School, where nearly an hour elapse before police shot gunman Salvador Ramos.

In communities across the country, protests and school walkouts are planned to show solidarity with the victims of the attack and call for more gun reforms.

Hundreds of students at a Michigan high school where a mass shooting took place in November have already walked out of class on Thursday and formed a giant U-shape on the football field as a way to show solidarity.

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