Texas DPS officer tells CNN why officers didn’t engage gunman at Texas elementary school

Texas Department of Public Safety officer Lt. Chris Olivarez explained to CNN tonight why the officers in the school didn’t engage Ramos while he was in the classroom:

CNN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), facing questions about how officers dealt with the gunman who killed 21 people at a school in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, says those officers saved lives, despite waiting before physically confronting the suspect who was holed up inside a classroom.

“At that point, they had the suspect contained inside the classroom,” DPS spokesperson Lt. Chris Olivarez told CNN Thursday. “If those officers weren’t there, if they did not maintain their presence, there is a good chance that gunman could have made it to other classrooms and commit more killings.”

Olivarez said that officers did not have enough information on the exact location of the shooter to do an immediate takedown.

“They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots, they are receiving gunshots,” said Olivarez. “At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where this suspect was at, they could have been shot. They could have been killed, and at that point, that gunman would have had the opportunity to kill other people inside that school.”

Olivarez declined to explain the discrepancy between initial claims that a school resource officer “engaged” the gunman outside the school and Thursday’s statement saying Ramos was not confronted before entering the school.

“We’re conducting those investigations right now, speaking to witnesses, and those officers obviously are key to this investigation,” he told CNN.

I’ve seen headlines from other websites making it sound like the officers were cowards or something. But that’s not what Olivarez is suggesting at all. And honestly, what he says does make sense to me.

I used to be an EMT first responder many moons ago and I remember them teaching us that you have to protect yourself first, because if you get hurt or die then you can’t help the people you’re supposed to be helping.

I think that’s essentially what Olivarez is saying, that if the police officers sought out Ramos, not knowing exactly where he was, and they were injured or killed while doing so, it would mean that Ramos could go to more classrooms and kill even more students. And I think that’s a fair point.

It sucks though, because it meant that Ramos was left alone with those he was gunning down. Sometimes all the options are garbage.

Now that said, I’m not saying that everything law enforcement did in response to this is going to be fine. But as the DPS officer said earlier today, it was a complex and dangerous situation with a lot of moving parts.

It’s easy to knee jerk and condemn without knowing all the facts at the water cooler. But as I suggested this morning, I’d like to hear more about their response before I decide it’s Parkland 2.0.

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