Uvalde shooting timeline: 84 minutes of terror

From 11:27 a.m. until 12:51 p.m., horror rang out at Robb Elementary School

Following days of often-conflicting information from Texas authorities regarding the chain of events in Tuesday’s massacre in Uvalde, the Department of Public Safety released a timeline on Friday.

DPS Director Steven McCraw said that 19 officers were in the hallways inside Robb Elementary School as the shooter was locked inside a fourth-grade classroom, where he killed 21 people in a rampage that lasted more than 45 minutes.

The on-site commander believed it was a standoff with 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who had already shot more than 100 rounds inside classrooms 111 and 112. McCraw said the commander incorrectly assumed additional children were not at risk for casualties.

“He was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize” to get into the classroom, McCraw said.

“Of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision,” he said.

Here’s a timeline of events from Tuesday’s school shooting as outlined by McCraw on Friday:

  • Tuesday morning - Ramos shot his grandmother in the face at their Uvalde home. While she reached out for help, he got inside her Ford pickup truck and made his way toward the school.
  • 11:27 a.m. - A teacher at Robb elementary propped open an exterior door in order to retrieve a cell phone. The teacher who propped the door open walked back to the exit door, and the door remained propped open.
  • 11:28 a.m. - Ramos crashed the pickup into a ditch behind the campus. Authorities said Ramos, clad in body armor, shot at two male witnesses across the street at the funeral home. The witnesses were not injured.
  • 11:30 a.m. - A teacher who witnessed the shooting went inside the school and called 911.
  • 11:31 a.m. - The suspect reached the last row of vehicles in the school parking lot. At this time, a school police officer responded to the funeral home for a call about a man with a gun. The officer drove right past the suspect who was hunkered down behind a vehicle.
  • 11:32 a.m. - The suspect began shooting at the school’s exterior.
  • 11:33 a.m. - The suspect walked to the west side of the elementary school and made entry through the door. He then went to room 111 or 112 and began to shoot. “It’s not possible to determine (the room) from the video angle that we have at this point in time. We do know this: that he shot more than 100 rounds based on the audio evidence at that time, at least 100 rounds,” McCraw said.
  • Ramos locked the door and opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle. He was carrying multiple magazines. The shooter barricaded himself inside the room.
  • 11:35 a.m. - Three police officers with Uvalde police entered the school, followed by three volunteer officers, and a deputy entered the school. The three UPD officers went to the door, which was closed, and received grazing wounds.
  • 11:37 to 11:44 a.m. - There was gunfire from the shooter in the classroom.
  • 11:43 a.m. - The elementary announced on social media that the school was on lockdown.
  • 11:51 a.m. - FBI and a police sergeant arrived.
  • 12:03 p.m. - Officers continued to arrive in the hallway. At this point, there were 19 officers inside the hallway outside the classroom.
  • 12:03 p.m. - A girl called 911 from room 112 and was on the phone for one minute, 23 seconds.
  • 12:10 p.m. - She called 911 again and advised that there were multiple dead in room 112.
  • 12:13 p.m. and 12:16 p.m. - The girl called again.
  • 12:15 p.m. - Members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit unit arrived with shields.
  • 12:17 p.m. - The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District confirmed that there was an active shooter situation taking place.
  • 12:19. p.m. - Someone in room 111 called and hung up when a student told her to do so.
  • 12:21 p.m. - The suspect fired again, believed to be at the door, and law enforcement moved down the hallway.
  • 12:36 p.m. - The initial female caller called 911 again and said “he shot the door.”
  • 12:43 p.m. and 12:47 p.m. - She asked dispatch to “please send the police now.”
  • 12:51 p.m. - Officers made entry by using a master key and fatally shot the suspect.
  • 12:58 p.m. - Law enforcement radio chatter said Ramos had been killed by the Border Patrol team and the siege was over.

What happened in those 90 minutes has fueled mounting public anger and scrutiny over law enforcement’s response to the rampage.

Friday’s update on the attack’s timeline came only after authorities declined to explain why officers had not been able to stop the shooter sooner, with Victor Escalon, regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, telling reporters Thursday that he had “taken all those questions into consideration,” but was not ready to answer them.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.