CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Security expert talks about being prepared amid school shootings

May 26, 2022, 3:01 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:20 am

two trainees training in response to school schootings....

In this July 21, 2019 photo, Trainees Chris Graves, left, and Bryan Hetherington, right, participate in a security training session at Fellowship of the Parks campus in Haslet, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

SALT LAKE CITY — A school district in Texas had a plan in place to ensure the 2018 classroom school shooting in Texas never happened again.

On Tuesday, a gunman walked into an elementary school through a door that was apparently unlocked without being stopped by anyone and started shooting, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Thursday, KXAN reported.

Nineteen young students and two of their teachers were murdered.

Salvador Ramos was a local high school dropout with no criminal history and no known mental health history, officials said. He had just turned 18 and legally bought two AR-15-style rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition for his birthday, according to CNN and NBC News.

Cop at school didn’t fire weapon

Ramos shot and killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, (population 15,860) while barricaded in a classroom before he was killed by an agent from Customs and Border Protection. 

About half an hour before, Ramos sent messages to a 15-year-old girl he met online, telling her that he “just shot my grandma in her head” and planned to “shoot up” an elementary school.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said in a news conference Wednesday that the shooter was in the school for up to an hour before law enforcement breached the classroom.

“It’s going to be within, like 40 minutes within an hour,” McCraw said as quoted by NBC News.

McCraw said a police officer employed by the school district “engaged with the gunman.”

“Gunfire was not exchanged” and “the subject was able to make it into the school,” McCraw said. It’s not clear why a school resource officer didn’t open fire.

On Thursday, the Texas Department of Public Safety corrected McCraw saying there were no Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police on campus.

Ramos entered the school through a backdoor, then a classroom where he opened fire with an AR-15 rifle.

One CBP agent was shot, but is expected to make a recovery, sources said. At least a dozen agents — both on-duty and off-duty — rushed to the scene, according to ABC News.

In the wake of a 2018 school shooting in which eight students and two teachers were killed, the Uvalde school district adopted an array of security measures, including its own police force, threat-assessment teams at each school, a threat reporting system, social media monitoring software, fences around schools and a requirement that teachers lock their classroom doors, according to the security plan posted on the district’s website

Ex-Utah cop shares advice on school shootings

Recently retired Sandy City police officer Justin Chapman, now director of training at Aegix, headquartered in Salt Lake City, joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic to discuss preparing Utah schools for outside dangers.

Dave pointed out that the school resource officers were outgunned by Ramos.

“Are police prepared? When you look at this example where [the gunman] had an assault-style rifle and body armor. Is a school resource officer enough?” he asked.

“In our training and response in law enforcement, obviously, we want to be as prepared with the right equipment that meets or beats what the bad guy has,” Chapman said. 

In addition to the training and equipment, law enforcement agencies need to work in conjunction with school staff.

“So you gotta think in your mind, if I am really keeping my school safe… what are the individual staff and teachers prepared to do? How are they planning for that?… How are they communicating most effectively with first responders?” Chapman asked.

 AEGIX AIM app — currently in use in Cache County, Utah — can be used to immediately send information to emergency dispatch, law enforcement, first responders and the rest of the school, he said. 

“That time is so precious,” Chapman said. “That’s where we’re having those fatalities, those injuries — the time before law enforcement arrives.”

Related:

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Security expert talks about being prepared amid school shootings