AUSTIN, Texas ( Associated Press) — Police waited for protective gear before entering a Texas elementary school where a gunman has killed 19 children and two teachers, even after officers some of the victims were found to need medical attention, according to records obtained by The New York Times.
The details published by the newspaper on Thursday offer a clearer picture of the slow police response while the massacre was carried out inside the Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas. Police waited more than an hour to confront the assailant, even as distraught parents outside the campus implored officers to come inside.
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo led the response at the scene of the May 24 shooting. In body camera footage, a man investigators believe is Arredondo can be heard talking about the time they were wasting.
“People are going to ask why we’re taking so long,” the man said, according to a transcript of officers’ body-camera footage made available to the newspaper. “We are trying to preserve the rest of the lives.”
By the time four of the officers entered, there were already more than 60 elements at the scene, according to the report. The two classrooms in which the shootings were recorded had 33 children and three teachers.
Not all of the victims were found dead when officers finally entered: A teacher died in an ambulance and three children died at nearby hospitals, according to records obtained by the Times, which included a review of police documents and video collected inside the research.
The family of 10-year-old Xavier Lopez said the boy was shot in the back and lost a lot of blood while waiting to receive medical attention.
“He could have been saved,” Leonard Sandoval, the boy’s grandfather, told the newspaper. “The police took more than an hour to enter. He bled out.”