Uvalde classroom doors may not have been locked, report says

Uvalde classroom doors may not have been locked, report says

Uvalde classroom doors may not have been locked, report says

  • A law enforcement source said Uvalde police did not attempt to open the door to the room in which the gunman had been barricaded.
  • The source told the San Antonio Express-News that if the door was locked, the police had a tool to pry it open.
  • Uvalde police have been under constant scrutiny for their response to the May 24 shooting, which left 21 people dead.

Uvalde police did not verify that the door to the two interconnected classrooms that the Robb Elementary gunman had barricaded himself with children had not been unlocked, a source close to the investigation told the San Antonio Express-News.

The Texas Department of Public Safety previously said the doors were locked from the inside. But after reviewing surveillance footage, investigators thought the doors may not be locked from the inside due to a malfunction, the Express-News source reported.

If the doors were indeed locked, police had access to a halligan bar, a forcible entry tool in the form of a crowbar that could have opened the door, the source said.

On May 24, an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers and injured 17 others at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Footage of the incident reviewed by investigators showed the gunman entering the school through a hallway door that had remained unlocked due to another door jam.

The gunman, who was caught on video, was chased by three officers, shot into the classrooms, walked back into the hallway and eventually occupied the classrooms, the source said. The gunman also fired at officers from the classroom, the Express-News reported.

Uvalde Consolidated School District Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo and 19 other officers spent more than an hour waiting in a hallway outside after the gunman entered the classrooms.

Arredondo told the Texas Tribune that the response was delayed because he asked for tactical gear, a sniper and keys to get in, while trying to stay away from the doors to avoid gunfire.

Once Arredondo got the keys, he said he tried several keys before finally finding the right one, which allowed Border Patrol agents to enter and fatally shoot the gunman.

The source also told the Express-News that Arredondo initially didn’t use the keys he was given by a custodian on the door to class 111 and instead tried to find a master key for the other doors nearby.

The report adds to a growing list of changes to the timeline of the May 24 shooting.

Arredondo has received most of the criticism for his role during the filming. Body camera images from the day of the incident showed that police knew there were still children living in classrooms 111 and 112, but did not immediately go inside to rescue them.

The Texas Department of Public Safety also said Arredondo had called for the gunman to be treated as a “barricaded subject” and not an “active gunman.”

Representatives from the Texas Department of Public Safety and Uvalde Police, and an attorney for Arredondo did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.