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UVALDE, Texas – A fourth grade girl surreptitiously and whispered called the police. Around her, in Room 112 of Robb Elementary School, were the motionless bodies of her classmates and dozens of spent shell casings fired by a gunman who had been at the school for half an hour.

Shortly after noon, she whispered to an 911 dispatcher that she was in the classroom with the shooter. She called back again. And again. “Please send the police now,” she asked.

But they were already there, waiting in a school hallway just outside the door. And they’ve been there for more than an hour.

Police officers restrained themselves as they heard sporadic gunfire behind the door, who were instructed by the commander at the scene not to close the two interconnected classrooms where the gunman had locked himself in and started shooting just after 11:30 a.m rush

“It was the wrong decision, period,” State Police Director Steven C. McCraw said Friday after reading transcripts of children’s calls to 911 and a timeline of police inaction during nearly 90 minutes of horror Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

After days of shifting explanations and conflicting accounts, the revelations answered many of the fundamental questions about how the massacre took place. But they raised the even more poignant possibility that if the police had acted more and more quickly, all of the dead – 19 children and two teachers – would not have lost their lives.

Mr McCraw’s open and sudden revelation that a police commander had decided not to enter the classroom despite the gunman continuing to fire prompted a burst of screams and emotional questioning. At times, Mr. McCraw struggled to be heard. To others he seemed overwhelmed, his voice cracking.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who earlier this week said police had “showed amazing courage in running towards gunfire,” told a news conference in Uvalde on Friday that he was “in the been led astray”. adding that he was “absolutely furious.”

Mr. Abbott, who hours earlier canceled plans to appear at a National Rifle Association convention in Houston, told reporters that state lawmakers were reviewing the tragedy and determining what went wrong. “Do we expect laws from this devastating crime? The answer is yes,” he said.

For the children at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday began as a day of celebrations and special treats – films in the classrooms, photos with family in front of a glittering curtain and awards ceremonies for students who will finish their year in two days while relatives proudly announce theirs Hands gripped as they walked down the hallways.

Gemma Lopez had PE classes and an awards ceremony this morning. In Room 108, she watched The Jungle Cruise with her fourth graders.

Then she heard a loud bang in the distance, like firecrackers. She realized something was wrong because she saw the police outside the classroom window. And the cracking got louder.

“Everyone was scared and everything and I told them to be quiet,” said 10-year-old Gemma. One of her classmates thought it might be a prank and laughed. Gemma said she silenced them. That’s why they did exercises. She turned off the classroom light as she had been taught to do.

“I heard a lot more gunshots, and then I cried a little bit,” she said, “and my best friend Sophie cried right next to me too.”

The 18-year-old gunman who crashed his grandmother’s pickup truck in a ditch near the school at 11:28 a.m. began shooting outside — more than 20 times, first at bystanders and then at classroom windows. A police officer from the Uvalde School District arrived at the scene but did not see the gunman and drove past him.

Minutes later, the gunman was inside and opened a side door that should have been locked but was stopped by a teacher who went outside to get her cell phone.

Jasmine Carrillo, 29, was working in the cafeteria with about 40 second graders and two teachers when the attack began. The lights were dimmed – part of a school-wide lockdown that had come into effect.

As he entered the fourth-grade building, Ms. Carrillo said, the gunman punched and kicked the door of her 10-year-old son Mario’s classroom and demanded entrance. But he couldn’t open the locked door.

Instead, he moved to others.

In the connected classrooms, Room 111 and Room 112, a teacher couple, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, had also shown a film, “Lilo & Stitch”, when the students finished their lesson. One of the teachers moved to close the door and cordon off the classroom from the hallway. But the shooter was already there.

Miah Cerrillo, 11, watched as her teacher backed into the classroom and the gunman followed her. He shot first one teacher and then the other. She said he shot many students in her classroom and then went to the adjacent one and opened fire, her grandfather, Jose Veloz, 71, said, relaying the girl’s account.

Then he started shooting wildly.

The terrifying echoes of at least 100 shots echoed through the school as children in the classrooms and the two teachers there were shot and fell to the ground. It was 11:33 a.m

Not all the children inside were killed in that horrifying moment. A few survived, cowering in fear next to their limp friends. One of the children fell on Miah’s chest as she lay on the ground, her grandfather said. Afraid he would return to her classroom, Miah said she took blood from a dead classmate and rubbed it on herself. Then she played herself dead.

Two minutes after the gunman first entered the two classrooms, several police officers from the Uvalde Police Department stormed into the school. Two officers were approaching the locked door to the classrooms when gunshots were heard inside. The two were hit – abrasions, as their injuries would later be described – as bullets pierced the door and struck them in the hallway.

minutes passed. Miah heard the gunman go into the next room and put on what she described to her family as “really sad music.”

Inside the room, the gunman fired 16 more shots. Other officers arrived outside. By noon, 19 officers from various agencies were in the hallways and many more in front of the school.

At 12:10 p.m., one of the students who called 911 reported that eight or nine students were still alive, Mr. McCraw said.

Parents gathered near the site and around Uvalde, a close-knit community of 15,000 west of San Antonio, desperate for a word from their children inside, increasingly distraught by the silence of texts sent and unanswered.

“I’ve been praying with four ladies that everything will be fine,” said Lupe Leija, 50, whose 8-year-old son Samuel was inside. Amid the commotion, his wife Claudia texted their child’s teacher: “Kids OK?”

In less than a minute, she got the answer she wanted: “Yes, we are.”

Other parents grew increasingly angry, urging officers, who appeared to be milling around, to stop the shooting, which they could clearly see and hear.

But the commander on the ground, Chief Pete Arredondo of the Uvalde School District Police Department, noted that the nature of the situation did not call for the hasty intervention of officers, as active rifleman training has dictated for decades since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 .

Mr McCraw said the commander determined the gunman was no longer an active gunman but a barricaded suspect – “that we had time, there were no children in danger,” he said. The commander ordered shields and other special tactical equipment to enter the room.

During the long, agonizing minutes they waited for it.

“They were there without proper equipment,” said Javier Cazares, who arrived at the elementary school terrified and panicked for his daughter, Jackie Cazares, who was trapped inside. He watched as the shields were brought in slowly, not simultaneously. “A guy came in with one and minutes later another came in,” he said.

Chief Arredondo did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

At 12:15 p.m., specialized Border Patrol officers arrived at the school after driving about 40 minutes from their location near the Mexican border.

Federal agents arrived at a scene of chaos — people dragging children from windows while local police, carrying only handguns and a few rifles, attempted to secure a perimeter. The specially trained agents didn’t understand why they had to wait, a police official said.

At 12:19, another girl called from room 111, but quickly hung up when another student told her. Two minutes later there was another call and three shots were heard.

More time passed. Another call came in at 12:47 p.m. from one of the two girls to 911. By that time, the children had been trapped with the gunman for over an hour.

The girl in Room 112 pleaded: “Please send the police now,” read the transcript read by Mr McCraw.

A few minutes later, at around 12:50 p.m., the specially trained Border Patrol officers opened the locked door with keys from a school janitor and stormed into the room, Shot 27 times in the classroom and killed the shooter.

Another eight spent cartridges were found in the hallway, fired by police. During the massacre, the gunman fired 142 times, Mr. McCraw said, with an AR-15-style rifle, one of two rifles he bought with a debit card a few days earlier, just after his 18th birthday.

Always wanting to be the center of attention, Jackie, her family’s “little diva,” died in the shooting, along with her classmate and cousin Annabelle Rodriguez, a quiet honors student.

Miah, the 11-year-old whose classmate died next to her, survived, as did the two children who quietly dialed 911.

But Miah’s family was unable to hug her because of bullet fragments lodged in her back and the back of her head, said an aunt, Kimberly Veloz. She has yet to see a specialist in San Antonio to have them removed, but she doesn’t want to leave the house, she said.

“She still thinks he’s going to come and get her,” Ms. Veloz said. “We told her he was dead. But she doesn’t understand.”

Mario, the 10-year-old whose mother worked in the canteen, has been refusing to eat since Tuesday and can’t sleep at night.

The school year in Uvalde is now over but Mario’s mother, Ms Carrillo, said her son did not want to go back to school for fear of another attack.

She had to be honest with him that the friends he made at Robb Elementary School, his friend Jose Flores, the schoolmates he expected to see again in the fall, were all gone.

“You are with God now,” she told him.

Frances Robles, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, and Serge F. Kovaleski contributed coverage. Susan C. Beachy Kirsten Noyes and Jack Begg contributed to the research.

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