Uvalde’s mayor has revealed that a ‘negotiator’ frantically tried to contact teenage gunman Salvador Ramos during last week’s mass shooting, and that the school where the massacre took place will likely be demolished.
‘His main goal was to try to get this person on the phone,’ Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said in an interview with The Washington Post and Telemundo San Antonio Wednesday of the would-be negotiator, whom he did not name.
‘They tried every number they could find,’ he told the outlets in the sit-down interview, held at Uvalde’s City Hall.
He said that Ramos – an 18-year-old high school dropout who shot his grandmother in the face before storming the school – never picked up.
McLaughlin, who has come under fire for law enforcement’s shifting – and conflicting – accounts of the day’s events, said he met the city official at a funeral home across from the school, after he rushed to the scene after learning of the shooting.
During that time, Ramos had barricaded himself in a classroom where the gunman would kill 19 kids and two teachers – as officers with the Uvalde School District’s police force, who reportedly thought Ramos was alone in the room, waited outside.
It has since been revealed that 911 calls had been made by several students locked in the classroom with Ramos, as the men waited for more than an hour.
Uvalde’s mayor Don McLaughlin revealed Wednesday during a sit-down interview from the town’s City Hall that a ‘negotiator’ tried to contact teenage gunman Salvador Ramos during last week’s mass shooting. He also said the school will likely be razed in the coming months
Several victims died during this time span, law enforcement officials have since conceded.
McLaughlin asserted that he did not believe the negotiator knew there were children calling 911 and pleading police for rescue at the time.
Eventually, Border Patrol agents who rushed to the scene after hearing the incident unfold on scanners breached the locked classroom door, fatally shooting Ramos after disobeying direct orders from School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo to stay put.
According to a law enforcement official who anonymously spoke to The New York Times, the agents had been puzzled as to why they were being told not to enter the school and engage the gunman.
The mayor added that he thought it was likely that Robb Elementary (at right) would be razed to the ground in the coming months so that members of the community can move on from the massacre
The mayor added that he also was not aware that those 911 calls were being made, telling the outlets that he had not heard shots being fired from inside the school.
He also said he not been in touch with Arredondo, who oversaw the response to the shooting and has faced growing criticism over his decision to wait to confront the gunman – a move Texas Department of Public Safety head Steven McCraw has slammed as ‘the wrong decision.’
McLaughlin’s school district police chief Pete Arredondo is facing scrutiny for refusing to let his officers engage the active shooter at Robb Elementary, after the gunman barricaded himself in a classroom and continued to fire at kids as they called 911
The sit-down did not see McLaughlin offer any new details as to the much-talked about police response to the shooting, which is currently being investigated by the DOJ due to a number of inconsistencies in police accounts of what happened.
One such irregularity to surface regarding the botched police response is that Eva Mireles, one of the fourth-grade teachers murdered in the attack, spoke to her husband, a school district police officer, on the phone before she died.
The officer, according to a senior county official, was on the scene when he received the call – which came as officers waited outside the classroom with the gunman inside.
The call suggests the officer at the scene had information that Ramos was not alone in the classroom and indeed had hostages – putting the decision to delay entering the classroom further into question.
McLaughlin, pictured at left outside the school during the shooting, said he he met the city official at a funeral home across from the school, after he rushed to the scene after learning of the then ongoing massacre
Video footage from the scene shows angry parents pleading with officers parked outside the school to enter the building, as they wondered as to the fate of their children. McLaughlin said that he did not believe the negotiator knew there were kids calling 911 and pleading for rescue
Video shows Texas cops holding down a parent outside Robb Elementary School on Tuesday while a shooting unfolded inside. It took police an hour to get inside the building and bring down the shooter, due to Arredondo’s orders. The response is currently under investigation
The timeline of police’s reported response. McLaughlin has come under fire for his city’s officers’ shifting – and conflicting – accounts of the day’s events
It is unclear whether Mireles’ husband, Ruben Ruiz, told commanding officer Arredondo, 50, who made the call to delay entry, about the phone call.
Compounded with the slew of calls dispatchers received from kids in the classroom during that span, and the fact Arredondo has reportedly stopped cooperating with officials’ investigation, the district’s response has become the focus of the case in the wake of the tragedy – the worst school since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.
McLaughlin Wednesday deflected blame for those inconsistencies on the state’s public safety department, which is participating in the investigation into officers’ response, maintaining that local authorities ‘have not lied to anyone.’
‘The briefing that the governor and the lieutenant governor and everybody else in that room [had]… was given by the (Department of Public Safety), not local law enforcement,’ the mayor said.
‘They’ve had three press conferences – in all three press conferences, something has changed.’
The interview also saw the mayor assert that one officer from the school’s four-officer police force was part of the team that took Ramos down. DailyMail.com was not immediately able to verify if that was the case.
McLaughlin added that he thought it was likely that the school would be razed to the ground in the coming months, just as officials in Sandy Hook did following the massacre by then 20-year-old Adam Lanza, which left 26 dead – 20 of whom were children between six and seven years old.
‘I hope we tear it down to the ground,’ the mayor said, as the small-town community continues to look to move past the heinous incident.
He asserted: ‘I would never expect a teacher, a student, anyone to go walk back in that building.’
Salvador Ramos, 18, from Uvalde, fatally shot 19 children and two adults in Tuesday’s shooting. Ramos shared photos of guns to social media in the days leading up to the massacre. They mayor said he did not respond to the unnamed negotiator’s repeated calls during the attack
In this aerial view, law enforcement works on scene at Robb Elementary School where 21 people were killed
Law enforcement are seen at the scene of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. details continue to emerge about the school shooting in Uvalde that complicate law enforcement’s shifting accounts of the day’s events
The Justice Department and the state are currently investigating the police response.
On Wednesday, CNN reporter Simon Prokupecz traveled to Uvalde in an attempt to question chief Pedro Arredondo about his department’s actions the day of the massacre, and why he had ordered his officers to wait outside the school.
During the encounter, Arredondo deflected Prokupecz’s questions, repeatedly saying that there would be answers once the parents of victims were done grieving.
Shortly after confronting the chief, Prokupecz was confronted by a group of Uvalde school district officers who told him that cops from the Uvalde Police Department were on the way to charge the journalists with trespassing.
On Wednesday, CNN reporter Simon Prokupecz traveled to Uvalde in an attempt to question chief Pedro Arredondo about his department’s actions the day of the massacre, and why he had ordered his officers to wait outside the school. The DOJ and the state are currently investigating the department’s response to the shooting
A tweet from CNN reporter Simon Prokupecz showing Uvalde Independent School District officers outside their office saying he will be charged with trespassing if he doesn’t leave
‘I’m just gonna let you know, Uvalde PD’s en route, once they get here, they’ll start issuing criminal trespasses for the property,’ one officer said during the encounter, which was recorded by CNN cameramen.
‘Yeah, they want us to give you guys the initial warning, and then if you guys are still present, they’re going to issue criminal trespasses,’ another officer added.
A reporter with the San Antonio Express-News also claimed that the ISD had issued the same trespassing threat and warning to him, tweeting photos of what he described as ‘security detail’ surrounding the district office building, seemingly to protect the embattled police chief.
The journalists were then forced to leave the scene.
Uvalde ISD Police chief Pedro Arredondo. He has come under fire after being accused of giving the order to not have officers enter the room where the active shooter was holed up with students at Robb Elementary School on May 24
Meanwhile, reports that Arredondo has stopped cooperating with Texas Department of Public Safety’s investigation into his department’s response have been rife, further putting the force’s credibility into question.
On Tuesday, Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas DPS, announced Arredondo had stopped assisting their inquiries.
‘The chief of the CISD did an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview that was made two days ago,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Arredondo has been fiercely criticized by state officials, the media and grieving parents in the wake of the attack.
When asked by Prokupecz on Wednesday to defend his decision, Arredondo declined, saying: ‘We’re going to be respectful to the families.’
He added, ‘Just so you know, we’re going to do that eventually. Whenever this is done and the families quit grieving, then we’ll do that obviously,’ referring to the slew of funerals taking place in Uvalde this week.
Eva Mireles, one of the fourth-grade teachers murdered in the attack, spoke to her husband, a school district police officer, on the phone before she died. The call suggests the cop had information that Ramos was not alone in the classroom and indeed had hostages – putting the decision to delay entering the classroom further into question
Arredondo then rejected claims that he has not been cooperating the DPS, saying his office had been in contact with them ‘every day’ since the incident.
‘Just so everybody knows, we’ve been in contact with DPS every day,’ Arredondo, who was inducted into Uvalde’s city council days after the shooting, said.
‘I’ve been on the phone with them every day. Just so you know we’ve been talking to them every day.’
Prokupecz said that a short time after he confronted Arredondo, a spokesperson from the district came out and provided a statement claiming that the school district was cooperating with the DPS – but that they would not answer questions until the investigation was completed.
‘UCISD has and will continue to work with law enforcement who are investigating the event and realize that many questions remain,’ the statement read, ‘Because the investigation is ongoing and information is evolving, we are going to reserve comment until all state and federal agencies have completed their review.’
A tweet from San Antonio Express-News reporter Guillermo Contreras who says he was issued similar trespassing warnings by Uvalde ISD police
San Antonio Express-News reporter Guillermo Contreras described a ‘security detail’ surrounding the Uvalde ISD office when Arredondo was in the building. He has become the subject of ire for the reportedly botched response to the May 24 shooting