A US Border Patrol agent is believed to have shot and killed the suspected gunman who killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday.
The agent belonged to the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), a specialized unit within the US Border Patrol. According to the Border Patrol, BORTAC provides immediate response to high-risk incidents that require special skills and tactics and has full-time members based in El Paso, Texas, with non-full-time members throughout the US.
Border Patrol sources told Fox News reporter Bill Melugin that the agent entered the school while other law enforcement officers engaged with the suspect, who at the time was barricaded.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the agent rushed into Robb Elementary School without waiting for backup. The Border Patrol agent shot and killed the gunman, who was hiding behind the barricade.
The unidentified agent was wounded in the leg by either a bullet or shrapnel, but able to walk out of the school. Melugin tweeted a picture of the hat that the agent was wearing when he killed the attacker.
"This is the hat the elite, veteran BORTAC Border Patrol agent was wearing when he breached the classroom with a tactical team and engaged/killed the Uvalde school shooter, a CBP source tells me. Graze wound to head. Many BP agents in Uvalde have kids at the school."
Jason Owens, a regional official with the Border Patrol, confirmed that an agent suffered minor injuries, but would not provide details. He added, "We have Border Patrol kids that go to this school. It hit home for everybody."
According to The Wall Street Journal, approximately 150 Border Patrol agents are stationed in Uvalde, where Robb Elementary School is located. After local police sent out the call Tuesday regarding the shooting, Border Patrol agents were among the first law enforcement officials to respond.
The Journal added that 80 Border Patrol agents responded to the shooting and that the BORTAC agents typically have their tactical gear with them.
According to the outlet, "Initially, the Bortac agents couldn’t get into the classroom because of a steel door and cinder block construction. Meanwhile, the gunman … shot at them through the door and walls."
"The BORTAC agents got a master key from the school principal that allowed them to enter the room. One Bortac agent’s shield was hit by rounds upon entering and a second agent was wounded by shrapnel. A third killed the suspect."
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the BORTAC agents acted "without hesitation" and "put themselves between the shooter and students to end the bloodshed and administer medical aid. Their heroism yesterday saved lives."
Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary of public affairs Marsha Espinosa posted on Twitter Tuesday that at least one Border Patrol agent was wounded by the shooter. "U.S. Border Patrol Agents responded to a law enforcement request for assistance re an active shooter situation inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Upon entering the building, agents & other law enforcement officers faced gun fire from the subject, who was barricaded inside."
She also said that both on- and off-duty agents rushed to the scene to help students get to safety and to provide medical support. "Risking their own lives, these Border Patrol Agents and other officers put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims and save lives."
Salvador Romas was identified as the suspected gunman. The 18-year-old high school student from Uvalde is also suspected of also shooting his grandmother before the attack on the school. At least 21 people were killed, including 18 children.