Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told Newsmax on Friday, that he sympathizes with parents who were recorded begging police officers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas to let them in to rescue their children, but there was no way they could have been permitted to go inside during the active situation.
"I myself as a parent, I would have wanted to go into that school to rescue my child whether I was armed or not armed," Olivarez said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We could not allow any more people to go inside that school, not knowing what the outcome was going to be while the shooter was inside, and where the shooter was."
His comments come as people are demanding answers about what was happening inside the school during the hour while the shooter, identified as Salvador Ramos, 18, was inside the school and a classroom where he killed 19 children and two teachers before a Border Patrol agent was able to shoot and kill him.
Olivarez said the large, mass-scale investigation into the actions of officers responding to the scene is constantly revealing new developments, and he understands that people are frustrated and angry and want answers.
But the narrative is shifting as more details are learned and as the Texas Rangers continue their investigation, said Olivarez.
For example, he said, the initial data indicated that the school resource officer, the first law enforcement official at the scene, had exchanged gunfire with 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, the shooter, but "we know now, based off witness statements, based off of physical evidence, that was not the case."
"The resource officer was the first one on the scene, but they did not encounter the shooter," Olivarez said. "So we don't know if at that time when the officer arrived, if the shooter was inside the school."
Olivarez added that he understands the criticism the public is making of the police presence at the school after video and reports of police officers blocking parents from entering the building, but "we have to make sure we conduct an accurate and factual investigation."
"There are many, numerous officers involved from different agencies, different cities, witnesses, gathering surveillance videos," said Olivarez. "We're trying to gather all that information so we can provide the facts."
Olivarez also told Newsmax that there were far more police officers on the scene than just those shown outside the building keeping the desperate parents from rushing in.
"What we do know for a fact was that officers did arrive within minutes," he said. "At that time, when they made an entry into that school, they were not able to locate that shooter."
It is believed, Olivarez said, that while the search was going on, Ramos was already inside the classroom where he killed 21 people.
"We're trying to determine exactly if the classroom door was secured or if the shooter shot the classroom door and was able to disable the locking mechanism," said Olivarez. "Those are questions that we're trying to establish and answer, but we do know for a fact the initial officers that arrived on the scene, they tried to make entry into the classroom."
But as they approached, Ramos opened fire on the police officers, shooting two of them, said Olivarez.
"They were able to retreat and obtain cover, and they stayed inside the school the entire time detaining that shooter," he added.
Meanwhile, numerous officers arrived at the scene, said Olivarez, and "we know at one point there were several tactical officers from the Border Patrol, as well as numerous police agencies that made entry because they were able to obtain a ballistic shield that allowed them to make entry into the classroom."
As the officers entered the classroom, Ramos fired at them. One of the Border Patrol agents was injured, with a bullet grazing the top of his head before the shooter was killed.
"They were able to shoot and kill the shooter, but we do know at that time, even during that estimated hour, that everyone is talking about, there were officers responding," said Olivarez. "There were officers arriving. They were doing evacuations inside of the school, breaking windows, and evacuating children, and teachers. There were officers setting up a perimeter, keeping people who wanted to go in from going in."
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