UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Several police officers armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield stood and waited in a school hallway for nearly an hour as a gunman carried out the massacre of 19 elementary students and two teachers, according to a Monday newspaper. report which marks the latest embarrassing revelation about the failure of law enforcement to thwart the attack.
Officers with heavier firepower and tactical gear were there within 19 minutes of the shooter arriving on campus — earlier than expected, according to documents reviewed by the Austin American-Statesman and and KVUE-TV.
The media report, which does not indicate the source of the documents, nevertheless intensifies the anguish and questions about why the police did not act sooner to stop the massacre of May 24 in the classroom of Robb Elementary School. J
The information is to be presented at a Texas Senate public hearing in Austin on Tuesday. Investigators say the latest information indicates officers had more than enough firepower and protection to take down the shooter long before they finally did, media reported.
The timeline reported by the US statesman and KVUE from the documents included footage from inside the school that showed the 18-year-old shooter casually entering through a back door at 11:33 a.m., walking towards a classroom and immediately spraying gunfire before barricading themselves. The video showed 11 officers entering the school three minutes later, media reported.
School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo called the Uvalde Police Department landline and reported that their suspect had “shot a lot” with an AR-15 type rifle and was more armed than the officers. from the school, who he said were armed only with pistols, the outlets reported.
Four minutes later, at 11:44 a.m., body camera video recorded the sound of multiple gunshots. At 11:52 a.m., the first ballistic shield arrived as officers grew impatient to act. Arredondo struggled to find the key to the classroom door, even though no one tried to open the door, media reported.
Another officer with a ballistic shield arrived at 12:03 p.m., and another came with a shield two minutes later. About 30 minutes before officers finally break through the classroom door at 12:50 p.m., Arredondo wonders aloud if the shooter could be shot through a window. It was not until 12:46 p.m. that Arredondo told members of the tactical team to come through the door when they were ready, media reported.
Last week, the San Antonio Express-News reported CCTV footage from the school did not show officers attempting to open the door leading to the classrooms where the massacre was taking place. And the New York Times reported two Uvalde town police officers told the sheriff’s deputy that they passed up a fleeting chance to shoot the shooter while he was still outside the school because they feared to hit children.
Delays in law enforcement’s response have been the focus of the federal, state and local investigation into the massacre and its aftermath. Asked about the law enforcement response began a few days after the massacre. Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said May 27 that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” by choosing not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, so even as fourth graders trapped in two classrooms were desperate. call 911 for help.
Arredondo said later he did not see himself as the responsible person and assumed that someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response. Arredondo declined repeated requests for comment to The Associated Press.
State police initially said the shooter entered through an exterior door that had been held open by a teacher. A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson said on May 31however, on Tuesday the teacher closed the door after realizing a shooter was on campus, but it did not lock as it should have.
June 2State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said it was a ‘system failure’ that school district police chief Pete Arredondo hadn’t received any news of calls for help from people inside Robb Elementary School on May 24 because he had no two-way radio link with the city police..
“I want to know specifically who was receiving the 911 calls,” Gutierrez said at a news conference.
The Uvalde school board heard from members of the public on Monday, including relatives of those killed in the attack. They in turn criticized the police response and what they described as lax security measures at the school in general.
Lyliana Garcia, 16, is the daughter of teacher Irma Garcia, who was killed in the shooting, and José Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later. They had four children – a Marine, a college student, a seventh grader, and Lyliana.
“The knowledge of being orphaned at such a young age is inconceivable,” she told the school board. “These are the consequences that my family must suffer due to the lack of due diligence. I would like to share a quote from one of my sister’s cries of agony. She said: ‘My mother died protecting her students, but who was protecting my mother?’ »
A legislative committee examining the law enforcement response ended another day of closed-door hearings in Uvalde on Monday.
State Rep. Dustin Burrows, who chairs the panel investigating the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, said early in the day’s session that the panel would hear more testimony from the police department. ‘Uvalde, as well as another officer. of the school district police and a member of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
After Burrows’ opening statements at the committee hearing in Uvalde, the committee went into executive session, preventing the public from hearing testimony. Burrows did not immediately walk out of the executive session Monday afternoon to make a statement about the day’s testimony.
Burrows said testimony will continue Tuesday in Austin. He said he hoped to provide information on when at least a preliminary report would be made public.
Find more AP coverage of the Uvalde school shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting
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