First photo inside Uvalde school shows heavily armed officers standing idle
Police armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield arrived at the scene of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, minutes after the shooter, but waited more than an hour in a nearby hallway before engaging him , reveal new documents and video footage.
Footage shows impatient officers hearing gunfire inside as they deliberate whether to go after Salvador Ramos, the Austin American Statesman reports.
Ramos, who was killed in the possible police raid, entered Robb Elementary School at 11:33 a.m., the evidence shows, the most detailed examination yet of law enforcement’s flawed response to shooting.
Nineteen minutes later, the first of multiple officers equipped with ballistic shields joined the massed police near the classroom where the 18-year-old shooter had barricaded himself.
“If there are children in there, we have to go,” an officer can be heard saying, according to the new information, which is part of an investigation by state authorities into what s went badly at Uvalde.
Another replied: “Whoever is in charge will determine that.”
This order to engage did not come until almost an hour and a half after Ramos arrived on campus and gunned down 19 students and two teachers.
The new trove of information, which is expected to be presented to lawmakers at a Tuesday hearing in the Texas Senate, also outlines the role of Pete Arredondo, the school district’s police chief, in the chaos unfolding during the May 24 shooting.
Seven minutes after Ramos entered the building, Chief Arredondo called the Uvalde Police Department on a landline to alert them to the shooting.
“It’s an emergency right now,” he said.
“We have it in the room. He has an AR-15. He shot a lot. . . They have to be prepared outside the building because we don’t have firepower right now,” he said. “They’re all pistols.”
He also asks them to bring him a radio, because he does not have one, according to the Statesman.
Nearly an hour after Ramos entered the school, Mr Arredondo can be heard wondering if the officers should ‘break those windows and shoot him (expletive)’.
Officers, assisted by a specially trained Border Patrol unit that arrived on the scene to help, did not charge into the classroom and shoot Ramos until 12:50 p.m.
The Independent contacted the Uvalde Police Department for comment.
The new revelations about the police response to the shooting, the second-worst school massacre in US history, are the latest in a series of strange and confusing details.
Last week, VICE News reported that the city of Uvalde had hired a private law firm to fight demands for public recordings from reporters asking to see body camera footage of the shooting.
Sources close to the shooting investigation also said police never tried to open the doors to the classroom where Ramos was hiding, despite previously claiming they could not enter. because the doors were locked and she had to wait for a key to arrive.
Meanwhile, outside the school, enough time has passed for crowds of parents to rise, begging officers to come in and confront the shooter.
Some even took matters into their own hands.
Farmworker Angeli Gómez ran into the school and rescued her children, although they were handcuffed at one point by law enforcement.
Another man, a US Border Patrol officer, borrowed his barber’s gun and joined officers responding to the scene.