Uvalde School Shooting Response Deemed an ‘Abject Failure’ After New Video, Evidence Surfaces
New video surveillance footage from inside Robb Elementary may be the most significant development to date when it comes to how officers responded to the Uvalde school shooting.
UPDATE (6/21/22): In the wake of the new video evidence surfacing in a Statesman report, Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, testified at a state Senate hearing calling the police handling of the Uvalde tragedy an "abject failure."
ORIGINAL STORY (6/20/22): The footage was obtained by KVUE and their news partners at the Austin American-Statesman and shows that multiple officers were inside the building 19 minutes after the gunman arrived. The officers were equipped with rifles and "at least one ballistic shield" but didn't enter the classroom with the shooter inside for nearly another hour.
The report stated that investigators will see that the officers "had more than enough firepower and protection" to enter the classroom and confront the gunman earlier than when they ultimately did make that decision.
Law enforcement's response to the school shooting has been under heavy scrutiny in the aftermath of the May 24 shooting. As more information became available, more holes began to appear in the timeline that was initially provided by the Uvalde Police Department. At one point, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had to walk back comments praising law enforcement for their speedy response, engaging the shooter as he entered the building.
Nearly one month later and evidence has shown that officers actually waited for "more than 70 minutes to confront the shooter" while students trapped in classrooms desperately called 911 for help.
The latest report from KVUE and The Statesman uses new footage from inside the school as well as body camera footage from more than 10 officers who were inside Robb Elementary. A reconstructed timeline based on that reporting shows that officers didn't actually breach the classroom until 12:50 p.m.—well over an hour after the shooter arrived at 11:33 a.m.
According to the report, 11 officers made their way into the school within three minutes of the gunman, and at 11:40 a.m. District Police Chief Pete Arrendondo phoned a landline back at the Uvalde Police department calling for more backup.
It's an emergency right now. We have him in the room. He's got an AR-15. He's shot a lot … They need to be outside the building prepared because we don't have fire power right now. It's all pistols.
Five minutes later more shots are heard on body cameras in the building. Then, just after 11:50 a.m., the first ballistic shield is seen while other officers are heard growing impatient with the response
If there's kids in there, we need to go in there.
Just after noon, another officer with a shield appears in the school. Soon, a third follows. While some initial reports suggested that Arrendondo was "trying to find keys to open the classroom," there is no evidence that supports those claims.
Then, nearly an hour goes before Police Chief Arrendondo is heard telling SWAT officers who had arrived to breach the classroom door when they were ready.
By that time, the damage was done and the 18-year-old gunman had killed 19 students and two teachers—scarring families and innocent children who were lucky enough to survive for life.
On Tuesday, much of the new information from the KVUE-Statesman report will be presented at a Texas Senate hearing.
See that full story here.