Speed Reads

Uvalde Shooting Aftermath

Uvalde police had rifles, shields inside school an hour before gunman was shot, surveillance video shows

Four weeks after a gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, "public understanding of the response to the tragedy has been marred by refusals by state and local agencies to release public records, efforts by local officials to bar journalists from public meetings, and the closed-door nature of the hearings held by state lawmakers," The Texas Tribune reports.

Still, information keeps dribbling out. None of it reflects well on law enforcement, and there's still no credible answer for why it look 77 minutes for police to break down the classroom door and stop the lone gunman. 

On Monday, KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman reporters were shown surveillance video from inside the school. "The footage shows that multiple officers were inside the building with rifles and at least one ballistic shield, 19 minutes after the gunman arrived," KVUE reported Monday night. "They didn't enter the classroom the shooter was inside for nearly another hour." 

According to an updated timeline compiled by investigators, the gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m., quickly walked into connected classrooms 111 and 112, and immediately began shooting children. Eleven officers were in the hallway by 11:36, and the first ballistic shield arrived at 11:52. "If there's kids in there we need to go in there," a special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety urged at 11:56. Border Patrol agents entered the classroom and killed the gunman at 12:50 p.m.

Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo, one of the first officers to arrive and presumed to be in charge, said police were outgunned and waiting for a key to arrive that would let them enter the locked classroom.

"No security footage from inside the school showed police officers attempting to open the doors to classrooms 111 and 112," the Tribune reports. One law enforcement source told the San Antonio Express-News that investigators don't believe the doors were ever locked. And police had access to a Halligan — an ax-like firefighting tool used to break through locked doors — within minutes of responding.

"At this point it's clear that a multitude of errors in judgment combined to turn a bad situation into a catastrophe," former FBI agent Katherine Schweit tells the Tribune. "What I truly believe is that everybody froze," state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, told Texas Monthly. "Law enforcement froze, they didn't act right. And now they need to go find a scapegoat."