Updated timeline: How police responded to the Texas school shooter

The Texas Department of Public Safety released a detailed new timeline on June 21

Police officers near Robb Elementary School on May 25 in Uvalde, Tex. (Sergio Flores for The Washington Post)
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Texas public safety officials on June 21 released a new, more detailed timeline of the devastating massacre of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., on May 24. It is the most complete accounting to date of what happened during the shooting.

Police waited well over an hour before entering a fourth-grade classroom to confront the shooter, Salvador Ramos, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The lengthy delay is being investigated by Texas state police and is the focus of a review by the U.S. Department of Justice and hearings in the state legislature.

The timeline below uses information released June 21, along with details from past news briefings and from video and social media postings verified by The Washington Post.

Police response to Uvalde school shooting was 'abject failure,' top police official says

Late morning: Gunman’s grandmother calls police after he shoots her

Ramos’s 66-year-old grandmother was able to call police after Ramos shot her at her home not far from Robb Elementary and departed in her truck, according to an account given the day after the shooting by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Authorities have not released the exact timing or content of her 911 call.

11:28 a.m.: Gunman crashes, prompting 911 call. Shots are fired outside school.

The timeline released June 21 confirms that Ramos crashed his grandmother’s truck into a ditch near Robb Elementary at 11:28 a.m. Two witnesses heard the crash and approached the truck. Officials have said Ramos shot at them.

11:29 a.m.: A teacher called 911 to report the crash and a man with a gun

Ramos went to Robb Elementary on foot and fired shots outside the school at 11:31 and 11:32 a.m. A police patrol car arrived in the school parking lot during this time but drove past the shooter, according to the timeline released June 21.

About 11:28 a.m.: An unlocked school door

Video shows a teacher closing a rear door of the school, Travis Considine, chief of communications with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a brief telephone interview May 31, changing the public account the department announced May 27 about why the door was accessible.

The department had said previously that video showed that a teacher had propped the door open as the teacher apparently fetched a cellphone to call 911 about shooting near the school and that the door became the gunman’s entry point minutes later.

An attorney for the teacher disputed that account May 31 in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News and said the teacher ran inside the school to get her phone, called 911 and “kicked the rock away when she went back in,” said Don Flanary, the attorney, apparently referring to a rock used to hold the door open. “She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting. She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked.”

On June 21, McGraw said the door should have been set to lock automatically when it closed, but was not — apparently unbeknown to the teacher.

11:33 a.m.: Gunman enters school unchallenged, fires more than 100 shots into classroom

Ramos entered the school through the unlocked exterior door and started shooting into either Room 111 or Room 112 — adjoining classrooms connected with an internal Jack-and-Jill-style bathroom, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw said at the June 21 state Senate hearing.

McGraw said the gunman entered, exited and then reentered the classrooms and, over the course of four minutes, fired more than 100 rounds.

11:35-11:37 a.m.: Police enter school, two armed with rifles. Two are wounded.

The timeline says a total of 11 police officers, from the Uvalde police department and the school district police department, entered Robb Elementary over the course of two minutes, using the south and west doors. Two had rifles. The group included Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, the chief of the tiny school district police force. At 11:37 a.m., the gunman fired at two officers as they approached the classroom; each sustained grazing wounds.

More gunfire is heard at 11:40 a.m. and 11:44 a.m.

More police and first responders arrived, including from state police, the county sheriff’s office and the fire marshal’s office. Police can be heard saying everyone should get back, according to the timeline.

Chief Arredondo spent years training to respond to a school shooting. Then it happened.

11:43 a.m.: School announces lockdown after gunshots

Robb Elementary announced a lockdown on Facebook “due to gunshots in the area” at 11:43 a.m. and claimed that students and staff were “safe in the building.”

11:48 a.m.: School police officer says his wife, a teacher, has been shot

Officer Ruben Ruiz entered the school building through the west door and is heard telling officers, “She is shot,” according to the timeline, which is based on footage and audio from body cameras, school security cameras and other sources. Ruiz was referring to his wife, Eva Mireles, one of the two classroom teachers killed in the shooting.

11:51 a.m.: Border Patrol agents arrive

Seven Border Patrol agents entered the school, and a ballistic shield was brought in a minute later. An agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived next, the timeline says, asked whether there are children inside with the gunman and is told that is “unknown at this time.” The agent continued to push to clear more classrooms and confront the gunman, the timeline says.

11:54 a.m.: Video shows family members frustrated with police

A video recorded outside the school starting at 11:54 a.m. captured parents criticizing the police response to the gunman still inside. “They need to go in there,” a man says in the video verified by The Washington Post and Storyful, accusing police of “standing outside.” Just before noon, the video shows students’ family members confronting a uniformed officer who pushes a man back and yells at people to retreat across the street.

By 12 p.m., video showed children running away from the school.

12:03 p.m.: Child starts calling 911 repeatedly from classroom

A girl called 911 for a little over a minute and whispered that she was in Room 112, McCraw said at a news briefing on May 27, three days after the shooting. She called back at 12:10 p.m. reporting multiple people dead, he said, and again a few minutes later.

12:03-12:11 p.m.: More shields and BORTAC agents arrive

Two more ballistic shields were brought into the school building, the timeline says, and Border Patrol tactical agents began to assemble. Arredondo and other police on the scene were requesting master keys to the classroom doors, and Arredondo ordered a sniper to be placed on the school’s east roof. Authorities learned later that the classroom doors were not actually locked, McCraw said at the June 21 hearing.

12:16 p.m.: With child saying students are still alive inside the classroom, Arredondo says, ‘No one comes in’

In another 911 call at 12:16 p.m., McCraw said at the May 27 news briefing, the girl from Room 112 said eight or nine students were alive. According to the timeline, Arredondo said: “I just need a key” and then, a moment later, “Tell them to f------ wait. No one comes in.”

12:19 p.m.: 911 call from another classroom

A student in Room 111 called 911 but hung up at the urging of another student, McCraw said on May 27. At 12:21 p.m., he said, three shots could be heard over the 911 line.

12:21 p.m.: Gunman is believed to fire ‘last shot’ before entry

The gunman fired again inside one of the classrooms and was thought to be at a classroom door, McCraw said on May 27. Law enforcement moved down the hallway, he added. In the meantime, a fourth ballistic shield arrived at the school, the timeline says.

12:23 p.m.: Scene ‘remains active,’ police say

In a Facebook update time-stamped 12:23 p.m., the Uvalde police department asked parents to pick students up at SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center — about a five-minute drive from the elementary school — and said the shooting scene was still “active.” The Uvalde school district wrote on Facebook at 12:30 p.m. that students were being taken to the civic center for “reunification.”

According to the timeline released on June 21, Arredondo can be heard seeking a master key that will work, trying to communicate with the gunman in English and Spanish, and saying that he believes two children have been killed and that he wants to prevent more from being killed.

At 12:30 p.m., he said: “Okay, we’ve cleared out everything except for that room. … We’re ready to breach but that door is locked.” Three minutes later, Arredondo said: “I say we breach through those windows and shoot his f------ head off through those windows.” A “hooligan” breaching tool was then brought into the building.

12:36 p.m.: Girl calls 911 again

At 12:36, 911 received another call from the child in Room 112, McCraw said on May 27, and she was “told to stay on the line and told to stay quiet.”

12:43 p.m.: ‘Please send the police now’

The same girl asked 911 to send police at 12:43 p.m. and reiterated the plea four minutes later, McCraw said on May 27.

12:42-12:46 p.m.: Arredondo says officers should enter

At 12:42 p.m., according to the timeline, Arredondo said officers were having a problem getting into the classroom because it is locked. “He’s got an AR-15 and he’s shooting everywhere like crazy,” the chief said. Then he added: “They can’t get that door open. We need more keys or something.”

At 12:46 p.m., the chief said: “If y’all are ready to do it, you do it. But you should distract him out that window.” A 12:47 p.m., a sledgehammer was brought into the hallway outside the classroom.

12:50 p.m.: Officers unlock classroom doors and kill gunman

McCraw said on May 27 that officers used keys they got from a janitor to unlock the classroom doors, then fatally shot Ramos in Room 111. The classroom doors were a subject of extensive discussion at the June 21 hearing, with McCraw explaining that they cannot be locked from inside the classroom. It remains unclear why police believed the keys were needed, or whether the classroom doors — like the building door — should have been set to lock automatically when closed but were not. “We can never see anybody put their hand on the door up until the breach,” McCraw said on June 21.

1:06 p.m.: Police say they have stopped Ramos

The Uvalde police department wrote on Facebook: “Update @ 1:06 Shooter is in Police Custody.”

Annie Gowen, Mark Berman, Meryl Kornfield, Silvia Foster-Frau, Debbi Wilgoren and Shawn Boburg contributed to this report.

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