Friday, December 02, 2022

Report: Police knew of injured at Texas school while waiting

AUSTIN, Texas ( Associated Press) – Police wait for protective equipment as they delay entering a Texas elementary school where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers, even as they learned Some victims required medical treatment, according to records obtained by The New. York Times.

Details published Thursday by the Times provided a clear picture of the slow law enforcement response as the massacre unfolded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Police waited for more than an hour to confront the gunman, even as angry parents outside the school urged officers to go inside.

Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo led the response at the scene of the May 24 shooting. A man believed by investigators to be Arredondo can be heard in body camera footage talking about how much time was passing.

“People are going to ask why are we taking so long,” said the man, according to a transcript of body camera footage of officers obtained by the newspaper. “We’re trying to preserve the rest of the lives.”

According to the report, by the time the four officers entered, sixty officers had gathered at the scene. In the two classrooms where the shooting took place, 33 children and three teachers were involved.

When officers eventually went in, not all victims were found dead: a teacher died in an ambulance and three children died in nearby hospitals, according to records obtained by the Times, which included a list of law enforcement documents and videos collected. Review included. as part of the investigation.

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The family of 10-year-old Javier Lopez said the boy was shot in the back and lost a lot of blood as he waited for medical attention.

“He could have been saved,” Leonard Sandoval, the boy’s grandfather, told the newspaper. “The police did not go inside for more than an hour. He was soaked in blood.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Chief Steven McCraw has said Arredondo made the “wrong decision” not to order officers to breach the classroom more quickly to confront the 18-year-old gunman. McCraw was interviewed behind closed doors at the Texas Capitol on Thursday by a legislative committee tasked with investigating the shooting.

Arredondo has not responded to repeated interview requests and questions from the Associated Press.

Law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present an accurate timeline and description, and have continually made improvements to previous statements. No information has been formally released about the police’s response in the days following the attack.

But records obtained by the Times offered new details, showing that the gunman, Salvador Ramos, had a “hell’s fire” trigger device meant to fire a semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle more like an automatic weapon. Had to give permission, but did not appear to have used it during the attack. According to the documents, Ramos had spent more than $6,000 on an arsenal of weapons, including two AR-15-style rifles, accessories and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

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The Times reported that some officers arriving at the school for the first time had long guns, and Arredondo learned the gunman’s identity inside the school and attempted to communicate with him through closed classroom doors.

One of the teachers killed, Eva Miralles, called her husband, an Uvalde School District police officer, during the attack. Documents obtained by the Times show that Reuben Ruiz informed respondents at the scene that his wife was still alive in a classroom.

According to the body camera transcript, “she says she has been shot,” Ruiz can be heard telling other officers as he arrived inside the school at 11:48 a.m.

By 12:46 p.m., Arredondo gave his approval for the officers to enter the room.

“If you’re ready to do it, you do it,” he said, according to the transcript.


More on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas:

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