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The An 18-year-old gunman from Uvalde, Texas, who massacred 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, climbed out of a closet and opened fire on tactical U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. when they entered the classroom where he was barricaded, according to reports.
The gunman Salvador Ramos came out of hiding and opened fire just after two Customs and Border Protection BORTAC agents, a Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue agent and at least one sheriff’s deputy they entered the classroom around 12:50 pm protected behind a tactical shieldan anonymous CBP official told The Washington Post.
The officers returned fire and killed Ramos, ending their armed assault, according to the report.
The movement to break into the classroom culminated in an approximately 40-minute period of indecision outside the classroom as law enforcement devised a plan.
An off-duty BORTAC agent was the first to arrive outside the “quiet” classroom at 12:15 p.m. and found several local police officers in the hallway, the CBP officer told The Washington Post.
There were bullet holes in the door to the classroom, which local police officers told the officer were Ramos shooting at them.
The agent began plotting a tactical operation to break in and CBP reinforcements arrived about 15 minutes later, the source told the newspaper.
The other BORTAC agents, along with members of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, arrived late to the classroom after local police initially told them to wait outside the school, two federal law enforcement sources told NBC News. .
Homeland Security Agents (HSI) were instructed to help retrieve the children from the windows.
But after about 30 minutes, officers from both agencies ignored local authorities and entered the school, according to the report.
With no battering ram in place to break down the classroom door, agents opted to use a ballistic shield provided by a US marshal.
It was difficult to determine who had authority over the operation, the source said.
“They haven’t told me they were frustrated,” the official told the newspaper. “But they told me it was difficult to discern who was in charge.”
The first BORTAC agent to arrive wanted to breach the door and get to the shooter immediately with the small team gathered outside.
Meanwhile, border agents and other law enforcement officials evacuated students and staff from other classrooms, the source said.
The officers asked for a key to open the classroom, which reportedly took between 40 minutes and an hour to obtain from a janitor.
The agent said he heard no gunshots during that time period, according to The Washington Post.
The team made their entry “within minutes” of receiving the key, the official told the newspaper. Authorities said they entered around 12:50 p.m.