07/07/2022
Agents from the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) stand guard outside the US Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center on June 25, 2021 in El Paso, Texas

  • Texas officials said federal agents raided Robb Elementary School despite local police orders.
  • Officials said one of Bortak’s agents shot the shooter.
  • PORTAC was established in 1984 and engages in specialized missions near the border.

19 children and two adults were killed after a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Ovaldi, Texas, on Tuesday.

Although the timing of events during and after the shooting continues to change, law enforcement officials said a Burtack agent was responsible for the gunman’s death after ignoring local police orders to stay out of the school.

BORTAC, or Border Patrol Tactical Unit, was one of several federal agencies on the ground that assisted the local police force. After waiting for 30 minutes in front of the elementary school, Burtack’s officers entered the building, eventually opened the room the gunman was holed up in and shot him. The Wall Street Journal reported.

Border police usually operate in Ovaldi, which is located 100 miles from the border. Texas reported monthly. Bortak agents often carried their tactical gear in their vehicles and were able to quickly prepare to fire, according to the newspaper.

Although officers such as the ICE, Border Patrol, and other federal agencies in Texas work together, they often do not take on the role of subduing the gunman. The New York Times reported.

What is PORTAC?

PORTAC was established in 1984 to suppress riots in INS detention centers. She now serves as a copy of the SWAT Team for Border Patrol, and is involved in services related to people smuggling, drug smuggling and high-risk missions.

BORTAC conducts missions within the United States and elsewhere “prior to a US Border Patrol mission,” but typically operates in desert areas around the US-Mexico border.

The unit is headquartered in El Paso, Texas and can be deployed immediately when needed. It provides an “immediate response” to “emerging and high-risk” incidents, according to US Customs and Border Protection.

The agency has previously been involved in high-profile missions, including the escape of Richard Matt and David Sweet, two convicted killers who escaped from a New York prison in 2015.

The unit has come under fire for its response at George Floyd’s funeral in Texas in 2020, where it was allowed to use lethal force against protesters, according to the American Civil Rights Union. BORTAC was also present at the border with military weapons during the wave of a caravan of migrants from Central America and Mexico in 2018.

A former Border Patrol agent told Insider reporter Oma Seddiq in 2020 that the unit was one of the “violent and racist” in any law enforcement agency after it was deployed to quell Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon.

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