UVALDE, Texas – Law enforcement authorities faced mounting questions and criticism Thursday over how much time elapsed before they stormed a Texas elementary school classroom and put a stop to the rampage by a gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers.
The 18-year-old suspect’s rampage started at this home, where he shot his grandmother.
“The first thing that happened was the gunman shot his grandmother in the face. She then contacted police. The gunman fled. As he was fleeing he had an accident just outside of the elementary school and he ran into the school,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
He then barricaded himself inside the classroom armed with AR 15-style rifles, wearing tactical gear.
He would exchange gunfire with police until border patrol agents killed him.
“Four of my agents were part of that initial entry team, also DPS, also Uvalde police. It was a group effort,” said Chief Jason Owen, Customs Border Patrol Sector.
Owens said his agents pulled children from windows.
The Texas Rangers is the lead investigating agency. The question of motive remains, police piecing together the suspect’s digital footprint.
His activity on social media includes messaging a teen girl living in Germany just before the shooting,
The chilling texts include “shoot up an elementary school.”
Then this “I just shot my grandma in her head.”
“Ima go shoot up an elementary school rn (right now).”
That last message was sent at 6:21 p.m. German time, which would have been 11:21 a.m. in Uvalde, Texas.
Eleven minutes later, police received their first call of a shooting at Robb Elementary School.
He posted on Facebook and tagged another girl on Instagram in a photo showing two AR-15-style guns.
“The first post was to the point of he said ‘I am going to shoot my grandmother.’ The second post was ‘I shot my grandmother.’ The third post maybe less than 15 min before arriving at the school, was ‘I am going to shoot up an elementary school,’ " Abbott said.
ABC News talked to the suspect’s mother. She said her son was not a monster but could be aggressive.
She said, “I had an uneasy feeling sometimes like, ‘What are you up to?’ "
And, she said: “He can be aggressive if he really got mad.”