(RepublicanWire.org) – Federal agents ignored orders from local police and went after the shooter who killed 19 children and two teachers 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 lead a “stack” formation of officers inside Robb Elementary School, federal law enforcement officials told NBC News.
A member of BORTAC, or the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, has been credited with fatally shooting 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. The agent “basically said let’s get this done” and began planning a way into the room, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official 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 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, who returned fire and killed Ramos. One BORTAC agent received minor injuries after his head was grazed by a bullet and his foot struck by shrapnel.
The Border Patrol agent who killed the mass shooter at an elementary school here Tuesday belonged to a small, elite team that has a presence in this town and responded to calls about the incident on local police radio.
The agent and two colleagues who confronted the shooter belong to the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, known as Bortac. Its roughly 240 agents are among the most highly trained in federal law enforcement. They do some of the Border Patrol’s most risky work, including storming suspected migrant stash houses and tracking human-smuggling networks.
They were among about 80 Border Patrol agents who ultimately responded to the massacre. Many of them live and work in Uvalde, located about an hour from Mexico, where the local Border Patrol station is staffed by approximately 150 agents.
“Uvalde is their home, these are their neighbors, they had kids that went to that school,” said Jason Owens, the top Border Patrol agent in the agency’s Del Rio Sector, which includes Uvalde. “We had agents that were responding to this incident, knowing their child was unaccounted for in this incident. We have agents whose families were impacted by this event.”
Mr. Owens didn’t say how many relatives of Border Patrol agents were killed or wounded in Tuesday’s attack.
Bortac agents typically carry their gear, such as helmets, tactical vests and shields, in their cars and were able to quickly ready themselves to help breach the school building, officials said Wednesday.
Several of them helped make a plan with other responding officers to breach the building and later the classroom, according to federal authorities.
According to a report from the New York Times, Border Patrol arrived at the scene between 12 p.m. and 12:10 p.m. after driving up from the Mexican border, according to two officials that they spoke to on the condition of anonymity. This arrival time is much earlier than previously believed.
They were not able to breach the adjoining classrooms where the gunman was until just before 1 p.m. because they were not allowed entry.
“The officials said that members of the Uvalde Police Department kept the federal agents from going in sooner,” the Times report states. “The new details deepened questions about the tactics used to respond to the shooting and the length of time it took officers on the scene to end the carnage.”
The report continued, “the federal agents reported that they arrived to a scene of chaos — people pulling children out of windows while the local police, carrying only handguns and a few rifles, were trying to secure a perimeter, according to one official, who like the other spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.”
“The Border Patrol and ICE agents did not understand why they were left to wait, according to the official. Eventually, the specialized Border Patrol team went into the building.”
The agent, or one of the agents, involved with neutralizing the shooter, was injured by gunfire.
The Uvalde Police had reportedly attempted to enter the room as the shooting was underway, but two officers were shot and injured prompting them to fall back.
There were still children alive inside the room with the shooter, including one who covered herself in a peers blood to play dead and a young girl who was in the room bleeding out, only to later die in the hospital.
The incident commander at the time, was the school district’s police chief, whose qualifications for leadership under these circumstances will be the subject of much debate in the coming days. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, addressed the issue with reporters on Friday. “The on-scene commander at that time believed it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject,” McCraw said. “It was the wrong decision. Period.”