A collection of law enforcement documents and videos obtained by The New York Times as part of an investigation into the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas last month shows police delayed entering a classroom because they feared for their own safety.
The school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, arrived inside Rob Elementary School on May 24, just two minutes after a gunman opened fire after entering through an exterior door that failed to lock properly.
A group of officers approached the classroom, the gunman was soon after, but Uvalde backed out after gunning down two officers of the Police Department as they tried to peek through a window.
Despite the arrival of additional and better armed officers, no one attempted to return to orbit for more than 40 minutes, as shown in surveillance video reviewed by the Times.
Meanwhile, children and teachers inside the room were in dire need of medical care, according to heartbreaking phone calls to 911 from students. It is not clear whether Arredondo was aware of the call.
“There are a lot of dead bodies,” 10-year-old Khloe Torres told the 911 dispatcher 37 minutes after the shooting began. “I don’t want to die, my teacher is dead, my teacher is dead, please send help, send help for my teacher, he has been shot but is still alive.”
Torres survived, but 19 of his classmates and two of his teachers did not.
After more than an hour, a team of US Border Patrol agents, equipped with protective shields that Arredondo and other officers lacked when they first entered the building, eventually broke the orbit and killed the gunman. Killed, identified as 18-year-old Salvador. Ramos, a former student.