Police arrived at the scene of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, minutes after the gunman with rifles and at least one ballistic shield, but waited more than an hour in a nearby hallway before engaging him, new documents and video footage reveal.
Footage shows officers growing impatient and hearing gunshots inside as they deliberated whether to go after Salvador Ramos Austin American statesman reports.
Ramos, who was killed in the eventual police raid, attended Robb Elementary School at 11:33 a.m., according to the evidence, the most detailed look yet at law enforcement’s flawed response to the shooting.
Nineteen minutes later, the first of several officers wearing ballistic shields joined police near the classroom where the 18-year-old gunman had barricaded himself.
“If there are children in there, we have to get in there,” said an officer, according to the new information, which is part of an investigation by state authorities into what went wrong in Uvalde.
Another replied, “Whoever is in charge will decide that.”
That order to intervene came almost an hour and a half after Ramos arrived on campus and shot 19 students and two teachers.
The new wealth of information, expected to be presented to lawmakers at a Tuesday Senate hearing in the Texas Senate, also highlights the role of Pete Arredondo, the school district’s chief of police, in the unfolding chaos of the shooting on May 24.
Seven minutes after Ramos entered the building, Chief Arredondo called Uvalde police on a landline to warn them of the shooting.
“It’s an emergency now,” he said.
‘We have him in the room. He has an AR-15. He shot a lot. † † They need to be prepared outside the building because we don’t have firepower right now,” he said. “They’re all pistols.”
He also asks them to bring him a radio because he doesn’t have one, according to the Statesman†
Nearly an hour after Ramos entered the school, Mr. Arredondo can be heard wondering if officers should “break those windows and shoot his (expletive) head off.”
Officers, assisted by a specially trained border patrol who came to the scene to assist, would not shell the classroom until 12:50 p.m. and shoot Ramos.
the independent has contacted the Uvalde police for comment.
The new revelations about the police’s response to the shooting, the second-worst massacre in American history, are the latest in a series of strange and puzzling details.
Last week, VICE News reported that the city of Uvalde had hired a private law firm to fight public records requests from journalists asking for body-camera images of the shooting.
Sources close to the investigation into the shooting have also said that police never attempted to open the doors of the classroom where Ramos was hiding, despite previously claiming they were initially unable to enter because the doors were locked and they had to waiting for a key to arrive.
Meanwhile, enough time passed outside the school that crowds of parents stood and begged officers to go inside and confront the shooter.
Some even took matters into their own hands.
Farm workers Angeli Gómez ran into the school and rescued her children, despite being handcuffed by the police at one point.
Another man, a US Border Patrol officer, borrowed his barber rifle and joined the officers who arrived on the scene.