fficials investigating the Uvalde mass school shooting have revised details about the initial police response.
The teenage gunman who stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and killed 21 people, entered the building “not confronted by anybody”, police said on Thursday.
This contrasts with earlier claims that the attacker was confronted and shot by an officer.
Following the incident on Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott praised the “quick response” of “valiant local officials” who he said had engaged the killer before entering Robb Elementary High School.
But on Thursday, it emerged that Salvador Ramos was able to enter through an apparently unlocked door, according to Victor Escalon, a regional director at the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Mr Escalon defended the police response, saying “we’re all hurting inside”, amid mounting anger at an apparent delay in tackling the gunman.
The timeline of events still remain unclear and there are questions over how long it took officers to arrive on scene and why Ramos was allowed to rampage the school for more than an hour being before shot dead by US border agents.
Witnesses reported police were hesitant to storm Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, while desperate parents pleaded with officers to do something.
Others told how some parents were handcuffed, pepper-sprayed and even Tasered as they begged police to stop the gunman.
Ramos shot dead 19 children two teachers, injuring at least 17 more, in what is Texas’ worst school shooting.
The attacker, a high school dropout and loner who had bought the rifles he used a week before, was inside the school for more than an hour before he was killed in a shootout.
According to Uvalde County Independent School District Officers protocol, campuses are required to have staff “who patrol door entrances, parking lots and perimeters”. Teachers are told to keep doors locked at all times.
The shooter crashed his truck near the back of the school at 11.28 am, after shooting his grandmother, then fired an AR-style rifle at two people coming out of a nearby funeral home before entering the school.
The first police officers did not arrive on the scene until 12 minutes after the crash and did not enter the school until four minutes after that, police revealed. Inside, they were driven back by gunfire from Ramos and took cover, Mr Escalon said.
The crisis came to an end only after a group of Border Patrol tactical officers entered the school at 12.45 pm.
During the siege, frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the school.
One mother told the Wall Street Journal that she was briefly handcuffed and accused of impeding a police investigation after demanding, along with other parents, that officers storm the building.
“The police were doing nothing,” said Angeli Rose Gomez, who jumped over the school fence and ran inside to rescue her two children when she was finally released.
“They [the police] were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine said officers should have entered the school sooner, saying: “There were more of them. There was just one of him.”
Texas congressman Joaquin Castro has written to the director of the FBI to ask that agents investigate the law enforcement response.
It now raises questions over whether the police response was in line with guidance issued since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, which says the first officers on scene should do whatever they can to disarm an attacker without waiting for backup.
Separately a hero border patrol agent has told how he evacuated children including his own eight-year-old daughter when, while off duty, he rushing to the school armed with a shotgun he had grabbed from his barber’s after his wife had texted him about the attack mid-haircut.