McLennan County (FOX 44) – UPDATE: An arrest has been made with ties in the social media threat that Mart ISD faced Friday morning.
The McLennan County Sheriffs Office arrested a 15-year-old male in Midlothian, with the help of the FBI and Ellis County Sherrifs Office. He is being transported to Waco and facing charges of terrorist threats.
Sheriff Parnell McNamara tells FOX 44 News that they are going to make this arrest and prosecute him.
Mart ISD announced Friday morning that students were released early because of a threat on social media.
The schools let students go home at 8:15 a.m. out of an abundance of caution.
Someone on social media made a threat against the high school. Law enforcement is actively investigating the threat.
The school district decided that since student safety is a priority, it would be better to dismiss classes early.
Today is the last scheduled day of classes for Mart ISD. The district still plans to hold graduation, but more security measures will be added, according to Superintendent Betsy Burnett.
This comes just days after an 18-year-old walked into a Uvalde elementary school and killed 19 children and two women.
The gunman was in the building for more than an hour before he was killed by law enforcement officers, authorities say.
It was 11:28 a.m. Tuesday when Salvador Ramos’ Ford pickup slammed into a ditch behind the low-slung Texas school and the driver jumped out carrying an AR-15-style rifle.
Twelve minutes after that, authorities say, the 18-year-old Ramos entered the halls of Robb Elementary School and found his way to a fourth-grade classroom, where he killed 19 students and two teachers in a still-unexplained spasm of violence.
But it wasn’t until 12:58 p.m. that law enforcement radio chatter said Ramos had been killed and the siege was over.
What happened in those 90 minutes, in a working-class neighborhood near the edge of the town of Uvalde, has fueled mounting public anger and scrutiny over law enforcement’s response to Tuesday’s rampage.
“They say they rushed in,” said Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grade daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, and who raced to the school as the massacre unfolded. “We didn’t see that.”
On Friday, safety officials scheduled yet another briefing to clarify the timeline and address the anger over the response. But that came only after declining to explain why officers had not been able to stop the shooter sooner, with Victor Escalon, regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, telling reporters Thursday that he had “taken all those questions into consideration,” but was not ready to answer them.
The Thursday briefing, called by Texas safety officials to clarify the timeline of the attack, provided bits of previously unknown information. But by the time it ended, it had added to the troubling questions surrounding the attack, including about the time it took police to reach the scene and confront the gunman, and the apparent failure to lock a school door he entered.
After two days of providing often conflicting information, investigators said that a school district police officer was not inside the school when Ramos arrived, and, contrary to their previous reports, the officer had not confronted Ramos outside the building.
Instead, they sketched out a timeline notable for unexplained delays by law enforcement.
After crashing his truck, Ramos fired on two people coming out of a nearby funeral home, Escalon said. He then entered the school ”unobstructed” through an apparently unlocked door at about 11:40 a.m.
But the first police officers did not arrive on the scene until 12 minutes after the crash and did not enter the school to pursue the shooter until four minutes after that. Inside, they were driven back by gunfire from Ramos and took cover, Escalon said.
The gunman was still inside at 12:10 p.m. when the first U.S. Marshals Service deputies arrived. They had raced to the school from nearly 70 miles (113 kilometers) away in the border town of Del Rio, the agency said in a tweet Friday.
The crisis came to an end after a group of Border Patrol tactical officers entered the school at 12:45 p.m., said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine. They engaged in a shootout with the gunman, who was holed up in the fourth-grade classroom. Moments before 1 p.m., he was dead.
Escalon said that during that time, the officers called for backup, negotiators and tactical teams, while evacuating students and teachers.
Ken Trump, president of the consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services, said the length of the timeline raised questions.
“Based on best practices, it’s very difficult to understand why there were any types of delays, particularly when you get into reports of 40 minutes and up of going in to neutralize that shooter,” he said.
Many other details of the case and the response remained murky. The motive for the massacre – the nation’s deadliest school shooting since Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago – remained under investigation, with authorities saying Ramos had no known criminal or mental health history.
During the siege, frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the school, according to witnesses.
“Go in there! Go in there!” women shouted at the officers soon after the attack began, said Juan Carranza, 24, who watched the scene from outside a house across the street.
Carranza said the officers should have entered the school sooner: “There were more of them. There was just one of him.”
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz did not give a timeline but said repeatedly that the tactical officers from his agency who arrived at the school did not hesitate. He said they moved rapidly to enter the building, lining up in a “stack” behind an agent holding up a shield.
“What we wanted to make sure is to act quickly, act swiftly, and that’s exactly what those agents did,” Ortiz told Fox News.
But a law enforcement official said that once in the building, the agents had trouble breaching the classroom door and had to get a staff member to open the room with a key. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly about the investigation.