Why didn’t the armed cops Uvalde police officers go in to save the defenseless children and teachers?
First image from inside Texas school shows cops with rifles and ballistic shields in corridor 19 minutes after gunman entered, instead they waited another hour to storm classroom
The gunman, Salvador Ramos, had entered the school 19 minutes earlier, but was not shot dead until 12:50pm
Cameras prove police officers armed with a ballistic shield and rifle were inside the corridors of the Uvalde school 19 minutes after the gunman entered the building, but still did not go into the classroom for a further 58 minutes
A freeze-frame from surveillance cameras inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, show police inside the building at 11:52am on May 24
Serious questions have been raised as to why the police did not immediately storm the school and end the massacre, with experts blaming poor training and lapses in judgement by the police chief
Monday’s new detail will heap further pressure on Uvalde police as the grieving parents and relatives of the 19 children and two teachers demand answers
A haunting first image has emerged of the inside of the Texas massacre school while the bloodbath was unfolding – with its timestamp raises fresh questions about why cops didn’t storm the room where the shooter was sooner.
At first glance, the corridor of Robb Elementary School, shot from above on an overhead surveillance camera looks like any other American elementary school, with a cream linoleum floor, and walls painted blue and green.
But it’s only the bottom of the static image – shot at 11:52am on May 24 – that gives a hint of the horror unfolding nearby. Two Uvalde Police Department officers can be seen toting rifles, while one has a ballistic shield placed just in front of him.
That image of well-armed cops with a means of deflecting bullets was obtained by the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE Monday night.
And it has led to fresh questions about why the classroom holding gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, wasn’t stormed sooner, before he could kill 19 children and two teachers.
Ramos had entered the school 19 minutes earlier, and begun firing gunshots.
But the officers of the Uvalde Police Department would not enter the classroom where he was killing children until 58 minutes later – despite the fact, as the new image shows, both officers had a means of protecting themselves, as well as taking out Ramos.
State investigators released a new timeline during Tuesday’s Texas Senate committee hearing detailing the more than 70 minutes officers spent inside Robb Elementary School as a crazed young man opened fire on children and teachers.
The updated timeline shows officers were inside Uvalde school for 1 hour, 14 minutes before shooter was killed.
The timeline, which is compiled from footage from a nearby funeral home, school surveillance, 911 recordings and body-worn camera, details more than 100 rounds being fired as armed officers entered the Uvalde school building. ‘
Eight officers were in the building three minutes after the shooter entered, including Uvalde CISD Chief Pete Arredondo.
Officers who approached the classroom doors were injured, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety timeline: “You run to the sound of gunfire; you do not stop. There is no doubt in mind that any one of those officers would have sacrificed their lives for those children,” said Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw.
The timeline shows officers were inside the building for an hour and 14 minutes before the gunman was shot by law enforcement. During that time, multiple officers questioned whether there were children inside the classrooms.
According to the timeline, a unidentified officer asked “y’all do not know if there’s kids in there?” A Texas DPS special agent responded, ‘if there’s kids in there, we need to go in there.”
McCraw testified Tuesday that 28 minutes after officers arrived on the scene, a 911 call came in from one of the students inside the classroom where the shooting was happening.
“That was the first time Chloe called. It was heart wrenching. She was the only one [in the room] that was uninjured,” said McCraw.
The timeline shows for more than 40 minutes Arredondo and officers were trying to figure out how to get the doors open to the classroom, including the chief asking for a master key and for a door-breaching tool.
“There’s a window over there obviously. The door is probably going to be locked,” said Arredondo at 12:28 p.m., according to the Texas DPS timeline. “I am going to get some more keys to test.”
However, DPS Director McCraw said Tuesday he believes the classroom doors where the shooter was located were “unsecured” and not locked.
“The officers had weapons; the children had none. The officers had body armor the children had none. The officers had training; the subject had none. One hour 14 minutes and 8 seconds — that’s how long the children waited, and the teachers waited in room 111 to be rescued,” said McCraw.
“While they waited the on-scene commander waited for radio and rifles. Then he waited for shields.
“Then he waited for SWAT.
“Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed. The post columbine document is clear and compelling and unambiguous stop the killing stop the dying”
The inference to be drawn from viewing this freeze frame image of the interior of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, taken on May 24 while the massacre that killed 21 was taking place, is that the two well-armed cops with a ballistic shield inside the school corridor within just 19 minutes of the shooter entering classroom 112, could have confronted him – The shooter, Salvador Ramos, had focused his attack around classrooms 112 and 111.
Begging to be explained is why the gunman was holed up in 112, but that room would not be stormed over an hour later, even though these cops seem well-equipped to attempt a rescue mission.
Furious parents and relatives of the 19 children and two teachers murdered on May 24 are demanding to know why the 18-year-old gunman was free to continue his rampage for almost 90 minutes.
He entered the school at 11:33am, and was shot dead at 12:50pm.
Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief, has said that he thought the gunman was barricaded inside, away from the children, and wanted more equipment for the police before they went in. But the children were calling 911 begging for help, and police outside were urging Arredondo to let them go in.
On Monday, The Austin-American Statesman obtained the first photos from inside the school, which showed, at 11:52am, officers in the corridor.
One has a ballistic shield as well as a long gun. The other has a rifle.
Officers did not breach the door and kill the gunman, Salvador Ramos, until 58 minutes later.
The image will heap further pressure on the police to come clean about what they knew when, and what they did, when. Today’s hearing in Austin is expected to provide further answers, with the new image and others likely to be shared.
The paper also obtained damning transcripts showing Arredondo asking for help.
Three minutes after Ramos entered the building, 11 officers were inside.
At 11:40am, seven minutes after Ramos set foot inside Robb Elementary, Arredondo called Uvalde Police Department and asked for help.
‘It’s an emergency right now,’ he said.
‘We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot.
‘They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.’
Arredondo added: ‘I don’t have a radio. I need you to bring a radio for me.’
Four minutes later, at 11:44am, body camera footage picked up more shots from the gunman.
Then, at 11:52am, the photo showed the officers with a ballistic shield.
‘If there’s kids in there, we need to go in there,’ one officer said, according to bodycamera transcripts.
Another responded: ‘Whoever is in charge will determine that.’
Despite the officers having rifles, Arredondo insisted they find the keys to open the door.
At 12:03pm, an officer with another ballistic shield entered the school, and a third arrived two minutes later.
Around 12:20pm – 45 minutes after the attack began – Arredondo tried to speak to the gunman, and then wondered whether he could be killed from outside the classroom.
Arredondo asked if officers would consider ‘popping him through the window?’
He suggested: ‘Get two shooters on either side of the window? I say we breach those windows and shoot his (expletive) head off through the windows.’
At 12:46pm, Arredondo told SWAT team officers who had arrived that they should breach the classroom door if they were ready.
They did so four minutes later.
The ongoing Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans hearings holding in Austin and continuing Wednesday, will not discuss gun control, on the orders of Governor Greg Abbott.
The Senate today is listening to witnesses and public testimony on three issues: school safety, police training and social media.
On Wednesday, the committee of eight Republicans and three Democrats is scheduled to hear from experts about mental health and firearm safety.