At least two children called 911, one of whom begged for help, during Tuesday’s mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school.
One girl called 911 more than five times, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw said at a Friday afternoon news conference. He did not name the children but said both of them survived the attack at Robb Elementary School.
Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in the shooting.
The first 911 call came in at 12:03 p.m. local time. McCraw said the girl whispered that she was in room 112. The call lasted one minute and 23 seconds.
The girl called back again at 12:10 and said multiple people were dead, he said. She called at 12:13, and again at 12:16 to say that eight or nine students were alive.
At 12:19, a second student called 911 from room 111, according to McCraw. The girl hung up when another student told her to, he said.
McCraw said that during a 911 call at 12:21, three shots could be heard in the background. An additional call came in at 12:36 but only lasted 21 seconds. The director said the first girl called 911 again and “was told to stay on the line and be very quiet.”
At approximately 12:43 and 12:47, the girl asked a 911 operator to “please send the police now,” McCraw said. Around that same time, the girl said she could hear the police next door.
In another call that came in at 12:50, shots could be heard. About a minute later, McCraw said the call got “very loud” and “sounds like the officers are moving children out of the room” could be heard.
Reporters peppered McCraw with questions about the 911 calls and law enforcement’s response to the shooting. It was approximately a 40-minute gap between the first call and when the shooter, Salvador Rolando Ramos, was killed by police.
McCraw, who admitted that law enforcement made mistakes, said a decision was made at the scene that it was a “barricaded subject situation” and there was time to retrieve keys to the room where the shooter was barricaded.
“That was the thought process at that particular time,” he said.
McCraw went on to say that “it was the wrong decision” for police not to immediately breach the classroom.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision,” he said about the delay in officers entering the room.
The director also said that a school resource officer who arrived at the scene passed the shooter who was crouched down next to a car.