Uvalde officers were equipped to storm shooter, records show
- The police officers in Uvalde were armed with rifles and a ballistic shield
- Surveillance footage from inside the school showed the armed officers standing inside a hallway
- The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating the shooting
New details into the police officers' response to the Texas school shooting last month have raised more questions than answers.
According to records, the police officers in Uvalde were armed with rifles and a ballistic shield when they entered the Robb Elementary School 19 minutes after the gunman.
However, they still waited roughly an hour to breach the classroom where the shooter carried out his deadly rampage on May 24 killing 21 people, including 19 students.
The new details were included in reports by Austin American Statesman and KVUE on Monday. The details are the latest revelation into the botched police response.
Surveillance footage from inside the school showed the armed officers standing inside a hallway after gunman Salvador Ramos broke into the school through an exterior door that had failed to automatically lock.
Earlier, Uvalde school district police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was in charge of the police response, said that he was waiting for tactical gear and a protective shield to move on the gunman.
“There were 19 officers in there,” Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a media briefing days after the mass shooting. “In fact, there were plenty of officers to do whatever needed to be done, with one exception — the incident commander inside believed they needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that point.”
Based on footage from the incident and Arredondo’s own testimony, it’s believed some of the delay was based on his attempts to find keys to unlock the classroom door.
Arredondo tried dozens of keys, but told officers to wait for a tactical team when none worked.
“Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” Arredondo earlier said in an interview. “We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced.”
“Each time I tried a key I was just praying,” Arredondo told the Texas Tribune. “The only thing that was important to me at this time was to save as many teachers and children as possible.”
One hour and 17 minutes after Ramos started his rampage with an AR-15 style gun, police finally breached the door to the classroom and killed the gunman.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which is investigating the shooting and the subsequent police response, does not support Arredondo’s account.