STORY: "It was reported that a school district police officer confronted the suspect that was making entry. Not accurate. He walked in unobstructed, initially."
Officials in Texas on Thursday said the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers inside an elementary school in the town of Uvalde was able to enter the building armed with an AR-15 military-style rifle and body armor, without any confrontation.
"No. There was not an officer, readily available, armed."
That revelation contradicts an earlier report that 18-year-old Salvador Ramos encountered a police officer outside the school.
Not only was there no cop outside, but the door the shooter used may have been unlocked.
"It appears it was unlocked, so we're going to look at that and corroborate that as best as we can."
Victor Escalon with the Texas Department of Public Safety briefed reporters about what he described as the "complex situation" facing officers who first responded to the shooting inside Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.
The briefing comes amid an outcry from victims' families about the police response. Cell-phone video shared on Tuesday show frightened parents outside the school demanding officers do something to rescue the kids inside.
Escalon said that earlier on Tuesday morning Ramos had shot his grandmother in the face, wounding her. She called the police. Ramos then crashed his pickup truck outside the school at 11:28 a.m., fired several shots at two bystanders across the street and walked into the school at 11:40 a.m.
It would be another 4 minutes before the police arrived.
"Officers are there, the initial officers, they receive gunfire. They don't make entry initially, because of the gunfire they're receiving."
It was not until an hour after that a tactical unit with U.S. Border Patrol entered the classroom where Ramos had barricaded himself, and shot the gunman dead.
Reporters on Thursday asked why police didn't move in sooner. Escalon called it "a tough question."
"Once we interview all those officers, what they were thinking, what they did, why they did it, the video, the residual interviews, we'll have a better idea. Could anybody have gotten there sooner?"
The massacre - the worst school shooting in nearly a decade - has reignited a national debate over the country's gun laws. President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats have vowed to push for new restrictions, despite near universal resistance from Republicans.