After saying that a teacher at Robb Elementary School “propped open” a door that was used by gunman Salvador Ramos during last week’s mass shooting, officials in Texas said the teacher had actually closed the door.
The unnamed educator shut the door behind her, but the door “did not lock as it should,” Travis Considine, chief of communications with the Texas Department of Public Safety, told The Washington Post on May 31. “And now investigators are looking into why that was.”
Considine also told The Associated Press that the door was designed to lock when shut but did not lock.
“We did verify she closed the door. The door did not lock. We know that much, and now investigators are looking into why it did not lock,” Considine said.
Several days ago, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said at a news conference that the door was “propped open” and was ultimately used by Ramos to enter the building. Ramos, 18, shot and killed 19 children and two teachers during the rampage.
“That back door was propped open,” McCraw said on May 28. “It wasn’t supposed to be propped open; it was supposed to be locked.”
But McCraw added that the teacher witnessed Ramos crash his vehicle and saw him emerge with a gun, prompting a 911 call.
After calling 911, the teacher “kicked the rock away when she went back in,” her attorney Don Flanary said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News. Apparently, the door was being propped open by a rock, he said. “She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting. She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked,” he said.
Considine confirmed to the Post that the teacher did indeed remove the rock before she went back inside Robb Elementary School.
Since the shooting, officials in Uvalde have received significant criticism over the police response after it was revealed during a news conference that it took more than an hour for law enforcement to get inside the two adjoining classrooms where Ramos was holed up. Meanwhile, officials have frequently revised details that they released to the public about the incident.
The move to delay the police response, McCraw said, “was the wrong decision.”
On May 31, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, which represents police officers, urged its member officers to cooperate with “all government investigations” into the shooting and police response and endorsed a federal probe already announced by the Justice Department.
The organization was also sharply critical of the constantly changing narrative of events that has emerged so far.
“There has been a great deal of false and misleading information in the aftermath of this tragedy. Some of the information came from the very highest levels of government and law enforcement,” the association said. “Sources that Texans once saw as iron-clad and completely reliable have now been proven false.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.