Since 19 children and two teachers were massacred in Uvalde, Texas, authorities have repeatedly changed their story on what happened before, during and after the bloody siege in two adjoining classrooms.
The May 24 slaughter at Robb Elementary School marked at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school (kindergarten through high school) so far this year and the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade.
Now, mourners are tormented by shifting police narratives and the horror of knowing victims were trapped with a gunman for more than an hour — despite repeated 911 calls for help from inside the classrooms.
Here are some of the key details that have changed since the deadly rampage:
Gunman outside school
Gunman entering school
Authorities entering classroom
Unclear who was in charge
Police chief cooperation
cat1 Did the gunman encounter anyone outside the school?
Then He “engaged” with a school police officer Authorities initially said that after the gunman shot his grandmother and crashed a truck in a ditch near Robb Elementary School, a school resource officer encountered the suspect and “engaged” him before he entered the school.
“Unfortunately, he was able to enter the premises, and then from there that’s when he entered several classrooms and started shooting his firearm,” Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Erick Estrada said on May 24.
Now He “walked in unobstructed” One day after the shooting, Texas DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon said that when the gunman reached the school, he “walked in unobstructed initially.”
“So from the grandmother’s house, to the (ditch), to the school, into the school, he was not confronted by anybody,” Escalon said.
On May 27, Texas DPS Director Col. Steven McCraw said no school resource officer was at Robb Elementary when the gunman arrived on the campus.
“The (Uvalde) Consolidated Independent School District has six officers, and they didn’t have one posted at that location,” McCraw said.
He also said no school resource officer confronted the gunman before he entered the school — though “it was certainly stated in preliminary interviews.” He said a school district police officer did hear a 911 call about a man with a gun. The officer drove to Robb Elementary and sped to the back of the school to a person he thought was the suspect. But that person turned out to be a teacher.
“In doing so, (the school resource officer) drove right by the suspect, who was hunkered down behind a vehicle, where he began shooting at the school” before entering, McCraw said.
cat2 How did the gunman enter the school?
Then He entered a door propped open by a teacher On the morning of the shooting, a teacher left a door to the school propped open, McCraw said on May 27.
“That back door was propped open. It wasn’t supposed to be propped open; it was supposed to be locked,” McCraw said three days after the shooting. “So that was an access point that the subject used.”
Now The teacher closed the door, but it didn’t lock On May 31, Texas DPS spokesperson Travis Considine told The Associated Press that a teacher propped the door open, but then closed it once she realized a shooter was on campus. But the door did not lock.
A DPS press secretary confirmed to CNN that the AP report was accurate.
cat3 Did the killer post his plans online?
Then He posted messages on Facebook On May 25, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters the gunman shared his plans on Facebook about 30 minutes before the massacre started.
Abbott said the gunman wrote the following three messages and described them as posts:
“I’m going to shoot my grandmother.”
“I shot my grandmother.”
“I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
Now He sent private messages, not Facebook posts Shortly after Abbott’s comments, a spokesperson for Meta — the parent company of Facebook — said the messages were “private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred,” and were not public Facebook posts.
On May 27, DPS Director McCraw told reporters he wanted to “correct something that was said early on in the investigation — that he (the gunman) posted on Facebook, publicly, that he was going to shoot his grandmother, and secondly after that that he had shot her, and the third that he was going to go shoot up a school. That did not happen.”
Hours later, Abbott said he was “livid” that he was given wrong information before speaking at the May 25 news conference.
“I wrote down hand notes in detail about what everybody in that room told me in sequential order about what happened. And when I came out here on this stage and told the public what happened, it was a recitation of what people in that room told me — whether it be law enforcement officials or non-law enforcement officials,” Abbott said.
“And as everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. And I am absolutely livid about that.”
cat4 How long did it take for law enforcement to kill the shooter?
Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News
Then Less than an hour On Wednesday, May 25, Texas DPS Director McCraw told CNN the shooter was on school grounds for up to an hour before law enforcement entered the classroom he was in and killed him.
“It’s going to be within, like 40 minutes or something, [within] an hour,” he told CNN.
Now More than an hour On May 27, McCraw said the shooter was on school grounds for over an hour.
McCraw said the gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and was shot and killed by a Border Patrol tactical unit at 12:50 p.m.
In total, about 75 minutes had passed between the time the first law enforcement officers arrived at the school at when Border Patrol tactical agents breached the classroom and killed the shooter.
While the gunman remained in the classroom, parents waited outside the school in mounting frustration, urging law enforcement to take greater action.
Inside the classroom, terrified students called 911 to plead for help while as many as 19 officers stood in the hallway outside the classroom.
How law officials’ narrative of Uvalde school massacre has changed
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