A teacher at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has pushed back against a narrative of the last week’s mass shooting put forward by police.
On May 24, Salvador Ramos, 18, entered the elementary school with an assault rifle and a handgun and carried out the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, ultimately killing 19 young students and two teachers. In the aftermath, the Uvalde Police Department, which is facing severe scrutiny over its handling of the tragedy, said that Ramos was able to enter the school using a door propped open by a teacher.
The teacher implicated in that narrative, however, has now come forward to dispute it, according to a report published Tuesday by the San Antonio News-Express. Don Flanary, a lawyer representing the unnamed educator, insists that his client had not left the door open by the time Ramos was attempting to enter the school.
Speaking on behalf of the teacher, Flanary said that they had propped open the door around the time that Ramos had crashed his vehicle near the school, at which time they also called 911 to report that there had been an accident near Robb Elementary School. After that, however, the teacher insists that they closed door and that Ramos could not have used it to enter the building, as police have said.
“She saw the wreck,” Flanary explained to the News-Express. “She ran back inside to get her phone to report the accident. She came back out while on the phone with 911. The men at the funeral home yelled, ‘He has a gun!’ She saw him jump the fence, and he had a gun so she ran back inside.
“She kicked the rock away when she went back in. She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting. She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked.”
Security footage obtained from the area has backed up the claim that the teacher closed the door at this time.
Newsweek reached out to the Uvalde Police Department for comment.
The perceived failings of the Uvalde Police Department in handling the shooting as it played out have drawn national scrutiny. Officers reportedly followed Ramos into the building initially, but promptly left and took cover after fearing that they would take fire. The shooter was left inside the building for over an hour as students called 911 for help and parents were physically restrained from entering the school. Ramos was ultimately killed by border patrol agents.
In the wake of this criticism, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would be launching an investigation into the department and its handling of the shooting.
“The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement.