Steve June 2, 2022
tactical-unit,-not-off-duty-officer,-killed-uvalde-gunman

Quick Take

Jacob Albarado, who has been described in media reports as an off-duty Customs and Border Protection officer, helped students escape the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24. But online rumors falsely claim he was the CBP officer who killed the shooter. Albarado has said in interviews, “I didn’t shoot the guy.”


Full Story

The timeline of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, as described by officials, has changed several times since the shooting on May 24. So, it’s unclear precisely what happened between when the gunman, Salvador Ramos, entered the building around 11:30 a.m. and when he died a little over an hour later.

But one thing we do know is that Jacob Albarado didn’t kill him.

We know that because Albarado said he didn’t.

Albarado, who has been described in news accounts as an off-duty Customs and Border Protection officer, recently addressed a rumor spreading online that he had swept into the school and taken out the shooter amid inaction from first responders.

The rumor embellished upon a story first reported by the New York Times and widely circulated by other outlets that described how Albarado, while off duty, had left a barbershop and gone to the school when his wife, a teacher, texted that an active shooter was there. The couple’s daughter is also a student at the school.

Albarado borrowed his barber’s shotgun, he said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on May 31, and went to the school, where he consulted with responding officers outside about evacuating children.

“I didn’t have any of my gear — I was off duty — so, I didn’t go in,” he said in the interview, describing how officers broke windows so that children could evacuate.

In another interview the following day, Albarado told CBS News, “I didn’t shoot the guy. I wasn’t in the room with him shooting the guy. I never said I shot him. So I would like to clarify that as well.”

Officials haven’t specified how, exactly, the shooter died.

The most recent information provided by Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, indicates that members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, commonly called BORTAC, within CBP shot and killed the gunman.

McCraw said at a May 27 press conference that by 12:15 p.m., members of BORTAC had arrived on the scene with tactical gear, including three ballistic shields.

He said that the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Pete Arredondo, had decided to treat the gunman — who was locked inside two adjoining classrooms — as a “barricaded subject.”

McCraw said that Arredondo, who was in charge that day, believed “there was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team with the equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject at that point.”

Referring again to Arredondo, McCraw said, “The incident commander inside believed they needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that point. That’s why BORTAC was requested on the scene.” McCraw said, in hindsight, it was a “wrong decision” to wait so long before going inside the classroom.

At approximately 12:50, he said, “They breached the door using keys that they were able to get from the janitor because both doors were locked. … They killed the suspect at that time.”

Arredondo has not made any public comments since the day of the shooting, and he declined to respond to McCraw’s comments when asked about them by CNN.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Fechter, Joshua, Reese Oxner and Uriel Garcia. “Narratives, and blame, shift again as dysfunction engulfs shooting probe.” Texas Tribune. Updated 1 Jun 2022.

New York Times. “Parents Express Anger at Police Response to Uvalde School Massacre.” Updated 31 May 2022.

Today Show. “Exclusive: First responder recounts rushing into Robb Elementary.” NBC. 31 May 2022.

Border protection agent hailed as hero in aftermath of Uvalde school shooting.” CBS. 1 Jun 2022.

PBS NewsHour. “WATCH LIVE: Texas Department of Public Safety officials give updates on Uvalde school shooting.” YouTube. 27 May 2022.

Cooper, Aaron, Shimon Prokupecz and Eric Levenson. “Uvalde school district police chief declines to answer CNN questions in first public comments in a week.” CNN. 1 Jun 2022.

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