Like many cities in America, Uvalde, Texas, has a SWAT team. According to a Facebook post from 2020, the Uvalde SWAT team trained specifically in area schools.
“The Uvalde Police Dept. S.W.A.T. will be visiting the Uvalde CISD schools, Uvalde Classical Academy, and local businesses throughout the day,” said a Facebook post on Feb. 11, 2020. “The purpose of the visits is to familiarize themselves with layouts of our local schools and businesses. S.W.A.T members will be in full tactical uniforms and we did not want the public to be alarmed when seen. We appreciate the cooperations [sic] of all schools and businesses involved. We will continue working together to make Uvalde the safest place to live.”
It’s unclear if the Uvalde SWAT team was present at Robb Elementary School when it was attacked by a gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers. According to an Associated Press report and social media footage, Uvalde police milled outside the school during the massacre, brandished tasers, and prevented parents from entering the school. Onlookers present shouted at the police to “Go in there! Go in there!” according to the AP report. At least one of the parents who begged police to go inside later found out his child was killed in the massacre.
According to police reports and witness accounts, both of which are spotty, the gunman fought with a so-called school resource officer before entering the building and barricading himself in a classroom. He was in the school for around 40 minutes. The standoff ended when Customs and Border Patrol agents assembled at the scene, breached the classroom, and killed the gunman. It’s unclear where Uvalde’s SWAT team was during those 40 minutes or when the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) ended the shooter’s life.
Uvalde’s chief of police and City Hall did not immediately respond to VICE’s request for comment.