Federal agents ignored orders from local police and went after the shooter who killed 19 children and two teachers this week 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 leak a “stack” formation of officers inside the school, federal law enforcement officials told NBC News.
A member of BORTAC, or Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue, has been credited with being the one to shoot and kill the gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who had barricaded himself in a classroom.
An off-duty BORTAC agent was the first to arrive and “basically said let’s get this done” and began planning a way into the room, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection 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 different sorts 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 and they returned fire, killing the gunman. One BORTAC agent was lightly wounded with a bullet grazing the head and some shrapnel in the foot.
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.
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 was “the wrong decision.”
A CNN reporter said efforts to try and talk with Arredondo as more information comes to light about just how long it took law enforcement to get its act together and stop the rampage as desperate parents shouted out officers outside the school to go in and do something about it.
“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 see 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.
The shooting remains under investigation.