Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed John Harris, founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association, to the newsmaker line to comment upon the timeline of the mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school Tuesday, as reported by the AP.
Leahy: Joined on our newsmaker line right now by our very good friend John Harris, the head of the Tennessee Firearms Association. Good morning, John.
Harris: Good morning.
Leahy: I wanted to talk to you because there is a report. I don’t even know if you’ve seen this report yet, but there’s a report from the Associated Press about the timeline associated with this mass killing of 21 people – 19 elementary school children, and two adults – at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that happened on Tuesday.
I don’t know if you’ve seen this timeline, but I’ll go over it with you. Have you seen the timeline report from the Associated Press and others?
Harris: No, not yet.
Leahy: So, sit down. I’m going to read this to you, and I know this is, you’re reacting in real-time, John, but when I relay what this report is, I think you’re going to have the same reaction that I did.
According to Associated Press, the gunman – Salvador Ramos, I guess, is his name, he was the gunman, 18 years old – apparently had posted on Facebook. This is from other sources.
About half an hour before this happened, he posted, I’m going to shoot my grandmother. And then about five minutes later, he said, I just shot my grandmother.
He apparently didn’t have a driver’s license, but he took his grandmother’s keys to a truck parked outside the house and went in, and kind of had trouble getting it out of park, but spun out and drove towards the school.
Then about 15 minutes later, he crashed the truck near this elementary school. He had an AR-15 that he purchased a few months ago on his 18th birthday, purchased legally.
He took the AR-15 and apparently shot at two people outside a local funeral home, which is right in that neighborhood. One of the people in a house, a fellow man named Juan Carranza, aged 24, watched this happen.
Apparently, somebody called the police at this time. Now, let me continue with this. So, Salvador Ramos crashes his truck and takes his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, is how the Associated Press describes it, shot at two people outside a nearby funeral home – they were not injured. Then let me read the rest of this. Officials say, Ramos, “encountered a school district security officer outside the school.”
There are conflicting reports from authorities on whether the men exchanged gunfire. After running inside, Salvador Ramos fired on two arriving Uvalde police officers who were outside the building.
The officers were injured. After he entered the school, Ramos charged into one classroom, which he barricaded, and began killing.
The Department of Public Safety director there, Steve McCraw, told reporters 40 minutes to an hour elapsed from the time Ramos opened fire on the school security officer to when the tactical team of a bunch of Border Patrol agents shot him.
So, meanwhile, this is from the AP story. Frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where this gunman’s rampage killed the 19 children and two teachers.
An investigator working to track the massacre said it lasted … 40 minutes they were waiting to go inside according to this AP report. “‘Go in there! Go in there!‘ women shouted at the officer soon after the attack began,” but they didn’t. John, are you as stunned as I am, if that story is true?
Harris: If that story is accurate and the timeline is correct, that is clearly outrageous. I went through a training program a couple of years ago where the officers presenting the class were talking about Columbine and how tactics back at that point in time typically did call for onsite officers in an active shooter situation to secure the perimeter but not to go in or engage.
Basically, leave the victims to fend for themselves until tactical units got their individuals, I guess, better trained to enter the property.
This sounds almost exactly like the kind of training that Columbine told us years ago leads to mass killings that are potentially avoidable if law enforcement is willing to engage.
Now, part of the problem that we have in this country, and it is in fact driving the desire of civilians to arm themselves, is the courts have routinely said that a law enforcement officer on duty, even in the face of an active shooter situation, has no legally enforceable obligation to engage the shooter to defend or protect the public.
There is no legal enforcement responsibility there at all. And so what some of these departments have done, and that may be the case there, is they’ve trained their officers, the guys that are out writing speeding tickets, that you’re not qualified to engage an active shooter so you stand back and secure the perimeter, and let’s bring in the tactical unit or the SWAT team or some federal agency to handle what you’re incapable of.
And if that’s what happened, that will likely be what has materially contributed to the avoidable deaths of a lot of people.
Listen to the interview:
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