The Border Patrol agents who killed the school shooter in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday entered the school on their own accord after local law enforcement requested that they hold back, two senior federal law enforcement sources told NBC News on Friday.
The agents from BORTAC, Border Patrol’s tactical unit, arrived at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde from a location about 40 miles away, according to the New York Times. Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrived around the same time, the federal sources told NBC.
Local law enforcement asked the two teams to wait, and then tasked HSI agents with pulling schoolchildren out of classroom windows. BORTAC agents waited about 30 minutes and then decided to ignore local law enforcement’s request to remain outside, entering the school and neutralizing the gunman.
One of the BORTAC agents sustained a graze wound to the head before killing the shooter.
Nineteen students and two teachers at Robb Elementary in the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Officials identified the gunman as Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old resident of Uvalde.
Local officers waited too long to respond to enter the school and respond to the shooter, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw told reporters at a press conference on Friday. McCraw said that the on-scene commander at the time of the shooting, police chief Peter Arredondo, believed that the gunman had barricaded himself without additional threat to children at the school, and that there was time to bring in more officers and equipment for a “tactical breach.”
“From the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision: it was the wrong decision, period.” McCraw said. “There’s no excuse for that.”
On 40 minute delay in police engaging the suspect inside Robb Elementary School, officials say, "a decision was made that this was a barricaded subject…there was time to retrieve the keys."
— ABC News (@ABC) May 27, 2022
The comments by McCraw came after conflicting accounts by police of the timeline of events during the shooting. Texas governor Greg Abbott said on Friday that he was “livid” about being “misled” regarding the incident.
“The information I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate,” Abbott told reporters at a press conference. “I was misled, and I am absolutely livid.”
Texas DPS initially said that the gunman was confronted outside of the school and fought his way in, but later revised said he entered the school “unobstructed” through a rear door that had been propped open by a teacher.
Abbott added that “every action by those officials is under investigation by both the Texas Rangers and by the FBI.”