Jacob Albarado, an off-duty U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who rushed to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last week during the mass shooting that led to the deaths of 19 adults and two children, spoke out on behalf of local police officials.
"To me, I believe everyone there was doing the best that they could, given the circumstances," Albarado told NBC's "Today" on Tuesday. "I believe everyone was doing everything in their power."
About an hour into the shooting, where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos allegedly opened fire on a single classroom at Robb Elementary, Albarado was one of many officers primed to enter the school.
However, reports say Uvalde officials were reluctant to enter the school during the active shooter situation.
As part of that, Albarado says local police worked efficiently before federal officers arrived.
"The police were breaking out the windows from the outside, and the kids were jumping out through the window," Albarado said. "As I was coming in, I could just see kids coming out the windows and kids coming my way, so I was just helping all the kids out."
Before the incident, Albarado was getting a haircut. But he quickly headed toward the school, after his wife, Trisha — a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary — texted about an active shooter being in the building.
Trisha's note: "There's an active shooter. help. love you."
Jacob Albarado also had a daughter in the school at the time.
Soon thereafter, Uvalde police recognized Albarado and let him through the crowds to help rescue children escaping through broken windows.
"I just announced who I was and made my way toward my wife's room," Albarado said. "I just saw a whole bunch of kids running out, running off campus, jumping through the windows, cops breaking windows."
Albarado, apparently the first federal officer to arrive, "basically said, 'Let's get this done,' " and began planning a way to get into the school, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told the Washington Post.
More Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) agents arrived about 15 minutes later. Within minutes of getting a key to unlock the door, law enforcement officers reportedly "followed a leading BORTAC agent holding a ballistic shield provided by a U.S. marshal."
The eyewitness account provided to the Post gives some clarity to the mass-shooting timeline allegedly carried out by Ramos. Law enforcement officials are still working through the investigation.
The border patrol officer who ended up killing Ramos has yet to be identified publicly.
According to the Daily Mail, Ramos used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, which he had legally purchased just days before last week's attack, and shortly after his 18th birthday.
The town of Uvalde, located 80 miles west of San Antonio, has approximately 16,000 residents. It's just miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border and has a Border Patrol station.
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