Several police officers armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield were at the scene of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School Texas within 19 minutes, earlier than previously known, according to a timeline in documents verified by local media.
The information of the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE TV is scheduled to be presented to a public hearing by the Texas Senate in Austin on Tuesday.
Concerns have been raised about how police dealt with the May 24 shooting in Uvalde, in which 19 children and two teachers were shot dead by a gunman. Officers didn’t confront the shooter for more than an hour, even as concerned parents outside the school urged officers to go inside.
According to outlets, which did not identify the source of the documents, investigators said the latest information showed officers had more than enough firepower and protection to take out the gunman long before they finally did.
The timeline reported by the American-Statesman and KVUE from the documents included footage from inside the school showing the 18-year-old gunman casually entering through a back door at 11:33 a.m., walking toward a classroom and immediately firing guns fired before barricading himself. Video showed 11 officers entering the school three minutes later, outlets reported.
School district police chief Pete Arredondo called the Uvalde Police Department’s landline number and reported that their suspect was “shooting a lot” with an AR-15-style rifle and the school’s officers, who he said, were armed only with pistols , surpassed have reported.
Four minutes later, at 11:44 a.m., body camera video picked up the sound of more gunfire. At 11:52 a.m., the first ballistic shield arrived as officers grew impatient to act. Arredondo struggled to find a key for the classroom door, although it is believed no one tried to open the door, outlets reported.
Another officer with a ballistic shield arrived at 12:03 p.m. and another arrived two minutes later with a shield. About 30 minutes before officers finally broke through the classroom door, Arredondo was heard asking loudly if the gunman could be shot through a window. At 12:46 p.m., Arredondo told tactical team members to breach the door when ready, outlets reported.
Last week, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the school’s video surveillance footage showed no officers attempting to open the door leading to the classrooms where the massacre took place. And the New York Times reported that two police officers from the city of Uvalde told a sheriff’s deputy that they had done it missed a fleeting chance to shoot the gunman while he was still out of school because they feared they would hit children.
Delays in law enforcement responses have been the focus of investigations into the massacre and its federal, state, and local aftermath. Questions about law enforcement’s response began days after the massacre. Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said May 27 that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” when he decided not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, despite the despair of fourth graders trapped in two classrooms called 911 for help.
Arredondo later said he did not consider himself responsible and assumed that someone else had handled the law enforcement response. Arredondo has declined repeated requests for comment to the Associated Press.
On June 2, State Senator Roland Gutierrez said it was a “system error” that Arredondo had not heard a word about calls for help from people inside the school because he had no radio contact with the city police. “I want to know exactly who received the 911 calls,” Gutierrez said during a news conference.
Uvalde School Board heard members of the public Monday, including relatives of those killed in the attack. They took turns criticizing the police response and what they saw as lax security measures at the school in general.
Lyliana Garcia, 16, is the daughter of teacher Irma Garcia, who was killed in the shooting, and Jose Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later.
“The knowledge of being orphaned at such a young age is unimaginable,” she told the school board. “These are the consequences my family has to suffer due to a lack of care. I want to share a quote from one of my sister’s agonized screams. She said, ‘My mother died protecting her students, but who protected my mother?’”
A legislative committee looking into the law enforcement response concluded another day of behind-closed-doors hearings in Uvalde on Monday.
Following opening statements from State Assemblyman Dustin Burrows, who chairs the committee investigating the shooting, the committee entered executive session and barred the public from hearing testimony. Burrows did not immediately emerge from the executive session Monday afternoon to make a statement about the day’s witness testimony.
Burrows said testimony will continue Tuesday in Austin.
Texas school shooting: Heavily armed cops with ballistic shields were there ‘within 19 minutes’ School shooting in Texas
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