The School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

The question that is on everyone’s minds: Why is this happening? It feels like every few years, there’s yet another school shooting hitting the headlines and questioning who was the shooter, why the shooter committed the crime, how did the shooter obtain access, where did the shooter procure the firearm used, what was the shooters motive and when did the police receive the call and dispatch officers? All of these are valid questions, which generally receive valid answers – however, sometimes these answers do not provide the clarity that the public deserves.  With that said, lets take a look at the recent school shooting in the United States and try to analyze those six “W’s.

The Psychological Profile of A Mass Shooter

According to Everytown Research, “Mass shooters often displayed warning signs. Perpetrators of mass shootings often display warning signs before the violence, such as engaging in recent acts or threats of violence or violating a protection order. These warning signs present opportunities for intervention that could save lives. In fact, in more than half (56 percent) of the mass shootings in this analysis, a shooter exhibited at least one dangerous warning sign prior to the shooting.”

The typical warning signs included: Spousal/Family issues, Medication abuse or neglect, School/Work Issues and other domestic issues at home.

In the case of Robb Elementary, these signs were apparent in the 19 year old, Salvador Ramos. Had his family members or teachers paid more attention to him at home and at school, this situation could have been avoided.

Here’s what we know about Salvador Ramos:

  • Ramos stopped showing up at his high school, lost his job, began posting troubling images to social media and started to collect weapons.
  • Ramos had minimal contact with other people his age and often dressed entirely in black.
  • Ramos legally purchased two AR-15 rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition a few days before the shooting.
  • Ramos had a falling-out with his mother, moved in with his grandparents.
  • Coworkers described Ramos as a “loner” and said that Ramos was virtually friendless.
  • Ramos was upset that he was not going to graduate from Uvalde High School this year.
  • Ramos shot his grandmother in the face before driving to the Elementary School.
  • Ramos sent messages over social media networks, admitting to shooting his grandmother and plans to go to the elementary school, 30 minutes prior to the attack.

Timeline of Events:

  • 11 a.m. — The gunman sent a Facebook message to a connection stating that he has shot his grandmother.
  • The gunman sends another Facebook message stating that he is going to attack an elementary school.
  • The gunman sends a message on Instagram to a random follow, that he shot his grandmother and has a surprise for her [the follower]. He states that he’s going to “air out”. The gunman also writes “Ima go shoot up a elementary school rn”.
  • 11:28 a.m. —  The gunman crashes into a ditch near the school, exits the vehicle, kills two funeral workers, fires at the school and then and proceeds toward school grounds.
  • 11:30 a.m. — A teacher calls 911 to report the car accident.
  • 11:31 a.m. —  The gunman arrives at the school.
  • A School District Police Officer drives past gunman and  accidentally confront a teacher instead of the gunman. The gunman proceeds on campus; unobstructed.
  • 11:33 a.m. – The suspect enters the school through a door that a teacher left open.
  • 11:35 a.m. – Three Police Officers arrive at the school and exchange gunfire with the gunman.
  • 11:43 a.m. — School officials post a notice stating that they’re in a lockdown.
  • 11:51 a.m. — Police sergeant and US Border Patrol Agents start to arrive and a tactical assault is being planned.
  • 12:03 p.m. – Police Officers and Border Agents assemble in the school hallway, outside of rooms 111 and 112.
  • 12:03 p.m. – Students begin to call 911, long after the gunfire has occurred.
  • 12:10 p.m. – The same student calls 911 again, and tells the dispatch operator that multiple students are dead.
  • 12:13 p.m. – The student calls 911 a third time.
  • 12:15 p.m. – Police Officers wait in the hallway until a Border Patrol Tactical (BORTAC) Unit arrives at 12:15 p.m.
  • 12:16 p.m. – The student calls 911 another time and said that eight or nine students are still alive.
  • 12:19 p.m. – A different student in classroom 111 calls 911 and hangs up after a classmate tells her to keep quiet.
  • 12:21 p.m. – Officers order janitor to provide keys to the classroom’s locked door.
  • 12:36 p.m. – The first student who called 911, calls again and tells the dispatcher that the gunman is shooting at the door.
  • 12:45 p.m. – Border Patrol Tactical (BORTAC) Unit disregards orders to not engage with the gunman.
  • 12:50 p.m. — The shooting suspect is killed after BORTAC breaches the classroom door and engaged the gunman.

Significant Moments:

  1. Around 11:30 a.m. A school teacher calls 911 and reports the car accident caused by the gunman after he drove into a ditch. Shortly after the call, shots were fired into the school building.
  2. A District Police Officer arrives at the school and accidentally confronts a teacher instead of the gunman.
  3. At 11:35 a.m. three Police Officers arrive at the school and exchange gunfire with the gunman.
  4. BORTAC Agents arrived on scene and receives tactical command. Within 30 minutes, against orders, BORTAC proceeds to engage the shooter.
  5. BORTAC Agents successfully eliminate the threat and escort the children to safety.

Key Analysis:

  1. The initial report of a car accident does NOT prompt the response of a special tactical unit. However, upon officers responding to the car accident, the gunman opens fire on police officers – whom subsequently call for backup. However, after exchanging fire with the police officers, the gunman makes his way onto campus.
  2. Where the police failed up to this point was to position themselves between the shooter and the elementary. Situation Awareness should dictate that the Elementary School is the suspect’s intended target and ALL methods should be safely exercised to ensure the shooter does not reach his intended destination.
  3. Lack of information on the gunman resulted in a district police officer driving past the gunman and confronting a teacher INSTEAD of the gunman.
  4. In the event of any natural disaster, mass shooting or incident involving the safety of others, INFORMATION IS PARAMOUNT. The teacher should have accurately reported the gunman’s appearance and weapon. A  tool that schools should implement within their faculty – for future reference is the Military SALUTE report. A better description could have potentially ended this shooting BEFORE it claimed the lives of the innocent children and faculty.
  5. At 11:35 a.m. three Police Officers arrive at the school and exchange gunfire with the gunman.
  6.  Within 5 minutes of the initial responders’ to the call for additional officers, more Police Officers arrived on scene and exchanged gunfire with the gunman. In an event where adrenaline is at it’s highest, 5 minutes may feel like a lifetime. However, this is an acceptable response time for Police Officers. What is not acceptable is the fact that multiple officers have now exchanged gunfire with the gunman and FAILED to subdue him. In our opinion, This screams lack of experience and training – which makes us think back to the “DEFUND THE POLICE” campaigns and the impact those had on Police Departments in the present.
  7. BORTAC Agents arrived on scene and receives tactical command. Within 30 minutes, against orders, BORTAC proceeds to engage the shooter.
  8. BORTAC is the Border Patrol Tactical Unit. It is an elite unit of Men (and women?) who are called upon to resolve the complicated situations in their juris diction. Our only assumption of their presence at this event is because of their Tactical Capabilities. BORTAC agents surveyed the land, planned their insertion method and were ready to breach within 30 minutes of arriving.
  9. The public backlash of how long it took police officers (BORTAC) to “storm” the school is irrelevant and illogical in it’s thought process. Police officers need to understand the situation BEFORE making entry. At this point, they don’t know if the shooter might have an S-Vest (Suicide Vest), if their are OTHER shooters involved, where the shooter is located, etc… As we said before: INFORMATION IS PARAMOUNT. So regardless if you believe that Police Officers should blindly run into a hostage situation without knowing what waits beyond the door, it doesn’t happen. Why? Because the risk of agitating the gunman might provoke an ancillary attack therefore resulting in even more lives lost..
  10. Tactical Planning needs to occur at a command level not at a patrol officer level.
  11. BORTAC Agents successfully eliminate the threat and escort the children to safety.
  12. Again, another reason BORTAC agents are successful is because of their ability to make tactical decisions in a short amount of time. Due to their elite backgrounds, BORTAC agents have the training, skills and experience which far exceed that of a police officer. Their tactical decision making is what lead to the breaching of the classroom door and elimination of the threat.


Salvador Ramos, a troubled young Hispanic male youth had displayed signs of an upcoming violent outburst. He lost his job, dropped out of school because he was failing, he was a social recluse and distanced himself from friends and family and finally acquired two assault rifles which had been a ‘lifelong’ dream of his. On the morning of the attack, he shot his grandmother in the face, stole his grandparents truck and drove 1,000 feet (0,30km) toward Robb Elementary School. Prior to reaching the school, Ramos crashed the truck in a ditch. At this point, a school staff member called the police in regard to the crash. The police responded and exchanged gunfire with Ramos. Additional police officers arrived within 5 minutes of the initial officers call for assistance, meanwhile, Ramos exchanged more gunfire and made his way into the school and continued his assault, ultimately claiming the lives of 19 children and 2 faculty staff. BORTAC agents arrived on scene and conducted a soft breach which allowed them to gain access to the classroom and subdue Ramos.

There are plenty of areas in this incident which, if properly handled, could’ve prevented this tragedy:

  1. School Professionals needs to be wary of troubled students; ie. changes of attitude, personality, social circles.
  2. Parents or guardians need to be involved in their children’s lives and know what is going on in their children’s heads.
  3. School Staff need to ENSURE campus safety by ensuring that doors automatically LOCK from the outside, yet remain unlocked from the inside (in the event of a fire/safety event).
  4. School Security Guards need better training in the identification and handling of armed assailants. Schools should ALSO drill for suspicious person(s) on campus and drill their lockdown procedures.
  5. Schools may potentially invest in perimeter walls or fences to prevent unauthorized access and setup multiple ECP’s (Entry control points) with trained security professionals to screen visitors.
  6. Initial police responders need better training. Multiple police officers engaged one young man, who eluded the police and still continued on his killing spree. Better, realistic training would give the officers the skills NECESSARY to eliminate the threat before further loss of life occurs.

We pray that the families and communities impacted by this tragedy can unite and mourn the loss of their loved ones together, peacefully and safety. Nothing saddens us more to know that the dreams of parents for their innocent children to grow into this world, will never come to fruition. We offer our deepest and warmest condolences.

May the children of Robb Elementary rest in peace and never be forgotten.