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School District Beefs Up Security in Wake of Texas School Shooting

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By Jorge Casuso

May 25, 2022 -- The School District has heightened security at Santa Monica campuses in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers on Tuesday.

The Santa Monica Police Department has added patrols to the campuses "both before, during and after school to provide a sense of security to our community," Superintendent Ben Drati said Tuesday.

The District, which includes Malibu, already has safety plans in place "customized" for each campus that are "consistently" reviewed, evaluated and updated annually, he said.

"In SMMUSD we have worked and continue to work to harden the perimeters and entrances to elementary school campuses," Drati wrote in a letter emailed Tuesday to parents, staff and community members.

"By creating better defenses, we reduce the potential threat," he wrote.

Different grade levels require different approaches, Drati said.

"For middle and high school, there have been incidents where threats come from inside, by a student attending the school.

"Secondary schools require a different approach that predominantly focuses on reducing the threat through interventions prior to the person entering with a weapon.

"As with every other school shooting, Columbine, Sandy Hook and too many more, we will study what happened and strengthen our best practices to reduce threats," Drati wrote.

In the massacre in Uvalde on Tuesday, the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was confronted by law enforcement before entering Ross Elementary School with a rifle he purchased legally shortly after turning 18, according to state and local authorities.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said the shooter approached a back door of the school and was confronted by a school resource officer who "engaged him at that time" but "the subject was able to make it into the school."

Once inside, Ramos "went down a hallway, turned right and then turned left and there were two classrooms that were adjoining," McCraw said. "And that is where the carnage began."

Lt. Chris Olivarez, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson, said Ramos fired at officers who tried to enter the school, hitting several of them. They eventually forced their way into the classroom and killed the shooter.

The team that entered included three members of the Border Patrol's tactical response unit and one search-and-rescue team member, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told CNN.

A member of the tactical unit likely fired the shot that killed Ramos, according to various reports.

Before the shootings, Ramos shared his moves on Facebook with a 15-year-old girl he met online.

“I’m going to shoot my grandmother,” Ramos wrote 30 minutes before the school shooting.

The following post read, “I shot my grandmother.”

Fifteen minutes later he wrote, “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”

Facebook’s parent company Meta, said the messages were not public posts but “private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred."

After shooting his grandmother, Ramos fled in her truck as she called police, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. Ramos crashed the truck before reaching the school, which is about two minutes from his grandmother's house.

According to the few who knew the reclusive shooter, Ramos had been bullied for wearing black eyeliner and having a stutter.

It has not been revealed why he targeted the elementary school where his grandmother had reportedly worked.

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