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.