Saturday, March 25, 2023

Report: Police at school had guns earlier than known

UVALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) – Multiple police officers stood in a hallway at Robb Elementary School, armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield within 19 minutes of an armed man arriving at campus, according to documents released by the Austin American Statesman, a devastating new revelation that deepens questions about why police did not act faster to stop the shooter who killed 19 children and two teachers last month.

The series of revelations, which began the same week as the May 24 massacre, left the impression of a tumultuous response from law enforcement.

The newspaper quoted documents, including school surveillance and police body camera video, of unidentified investigators of the May 24 massacre. The information will be presented to a public Texas Senate hearing in Austin on Tuesday. Investigators say the latest information indicates that officers had more than enough firepower and protection to take down the gunman long before they finally did so, the newspaper reported.

The timeline that the U.S. statesman reported from the documents includes footage from inside the school showing the 18-year-old gunman casually entering through a back door at 11:33 a.m., walking to a classroom and immediately firing gunfire. before blocking himself. Video showed 11 officers entering the school three minutes later, the newspaper reported.

The school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, called the Uvalde police’s landline and reported that their suspect shot “many” with an AR-15-style rifle and overpowered the officers at the school, who he said were only armed with pistols. has. reported.

Four minutes later, at 11:44 a.m., body camera video recorded the sound of more shots. At 11:52 a.m., the first ballistic shield arrived when officers became impatient to act. Arredondo struggled to get a key from the classroom door, even though no one apparently tried to open the door, the newspaper reported.

Another officer with a ballistic shield arrived at 12:03 p.m. showed up, and another came two minutes later with a shield. About 30 minutes before officers finally broke open the classroom door at 12:50, Arredondo was heard shouting aloud whether the gunman could be shot through a window. Only at 12:46 did Arredondo tell the tactical team members to break down the door when they were ready, the newspaper reported.

Delays in the law enforcement response have been the focus of federal, state and local investigations into the massacre and its aftermath. Inquiries into the response of law enforcement began days after the massacre. Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said on May 27 that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” when he chose not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, even though trapped grade four pupils in two classrooms desperate. call 911 for assistance.

Another legislative committee completed two days of scheduled closed-door hearings in Uvalde on Tuesday in the delays.

State Representative Dustin Burrows, chair of the committee investigating the shooting at Robb Primary School in Uvalde, said at the start of the day’s session that the panel would have more eyewitness testimony from the Uvalde Police Department, as well as from another officer. listen. of the school district police and a member of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

After Burrows’ opening statements during the committee hearing in Uvalde, the committee went into executive session, which prevented the public from hearing witnesses. Burrows did not immediately come out of the executive session Monday afternoon to make a statement about the day’s testimony.

Burrows said that testimony will continue in Austin on Tuesday. He said he hopes to provide information on when at least a preliminary report will be released to the public.

Find more Associated Press coverage of the Uvalde school shooting:

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