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Police officers waited outside Robb Elementary School for more than an hour, despite being armed with the knowledge that there were still children trapped inside with the gunman, still alive, and possibly wounded.
According to an article published Thursday detailing an investigation — undertaken by The New York Times — into the widely-panned police response to the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas, body camera footage and documentation suggest that the initial claims made by law enforcement were false.
Uvalde school district top cop Pedro Arredondo, who was in charge at the scene of the shooting, reported that he was unaware students were dialing 911 from inside the classroom — one even taking a mobile phone from her deceased teacher in order to do so. But the Times report suggested otherwise.
“Heavily armed officers delayed confronting a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, for more than an hour despite supervisors at the scene being told that some trapped with him in two elementary school classrooms were in need of medical treatment, a new review of video footage and other investigative material shows,” Times reporter J. David Goodman wrote, citing footage from officers’ body cameras and documentation compiled after the shooting. “Instead, the documents show, they waited for protective equipment to lower the risk to law enforcement officers.”
“The school district police chief, who was leading the response to the May 24 shooting, appeared to be agonizing over the length of time it was taking to secure the shields that would help protect officers when they entered and to find a key for the classroom doors,” Goodman added.
Despite apparently being aware that students were still alive inside the building, police officers still waited over an hour to secure protective shields for themselves prior to breaching the classroom where the gunman was barricaded.
“The chief, Pete Arredondo, and others at the scene became aware that not everyone inside the classrooms was already dead, the documents showed, including a report from a school district police officer whose wife, a teacher, had spoken to him by phone from one of the classrooms to say she had been shot,” Goodman wrote.
Texas DPS chief Steven McCraw called out the local officials in the days after the shooting, saying that they had been wrong to wait outside — even if they were waiting on additional manpower or equipment.
"Of course it was not the right decision!" TX DPS Director says cops should have charged #Uvalde school. "Every officer lines up stacks up, goes and finds where the rounds are being fired at and keeps shooting until the subject is dead, period." pic.twitter.com/9qOL0jHXbx
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) May 27, 2022
“Of course it was not the right decision it was the wrong decision period. There is no excuse for that,” he said. “By the way, Texas embraces active shooter training, active shooter certification. That doctrine requires officers, we don’t care what agency you are from you don’t have to have a leader on the scene. Every officer lines up, stacks up, goes and finds where the rounds are being fired at, and keeps shooting to the subject is dead, period.”