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Uvalde officer missed chance to fire at Robb Elementary gunman before he entered school, new report says

A new report about the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre raises questions about whether the gunman could have been stopped before he entered the building.
/ Source: TODAY

A Texas police officer spotted the Robb Elementary gunman as he strode toward the school building and was "sighted in to shoot the attacker" but didn't take the shot, a new report found.

A Texas State University report about the May 24 shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde that killed 19 children and two teachers spotlighted circumstances in which the gunman could have potentially been stopped before he entered the building.

In one case, according to the report, a police officer spotted the gunman, Salvador Ramos, carrying a rifle toward the school after Ramos crashed his truck near the scene that morning.

The officer, who was about 148 yards away, "sighted in to shoot the attacker" and asked a supervisor for permission to pull the trigger, the report said. He never got a response, so the officer turned to try to get confirmation from his supervisor.

“When he turned back to address the suspect, the suspect had already entered” the building, the report said.

The report also stated, “A reasonable officer would conclude in this case, based upon the totality of the circumstances, that use of deadly force was warranted."

Texas state standards don't require officers to shoot their rifles from more than 100 yards away to be qualified to carry a patrol rifle.

“The officer did comment that he was concerned that if he missed his shot, the rounds could have penetrated the school and injured students,” the report said.

The Texas State University report also did not disclose whether an officer should or should not seek permission to fire a shot in that situation.

But it added "the decision to use deadly force always lies with the officer who will use the force. If the officer was not confident that he could both hit his target and of his backdrop if he missed, he should not have fired."

Uvalde police have not replied to NBC News’ request for comment. The police response to the shooting has come under scrutiny, with families desperately looking for answers about what happened.

Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jackie, died in the shooting, told NBC News' Sam Brock the report made him angrier about the police response that day.

“It inflames it more, knowing for sure, that it is true now that it did happen. He did have that shot,” Cazares said.

“I’m angry. I want justice served from the bottom to the top,” he added.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw testified before a State Senate committee that officers could've stopped the gunman within three minutes of him getting inside the school. Surveillance video also showed that police waited nearly an hour to get into the school.

“There’s compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” he said.

Pete Arredondo, the police chief of the Uvalde school district, resigned from his position on the city council earlier this month, a few weeks after he was placed on administrative leave from his police job.

The report also found two other potential safeguards that failed, including that a teacher closed a door to the school that was propped open, but did not check to see if it was locked. The report said “because it was not locked, the attacker was able to immediately access the building.” The report also found that a school resource officer who rushed to the scene sped right by the shooter.