NATIONAL NEWS

Report: Police in Uvalde had rifles earlier than known

Jun 21, 2022, 7:02 AM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:54 pm
A memorial is seen surrounding the Robb Elementary School sign following the mass shooting at Robb ...
A memorial is seen surrounding the Robb Elementary School sign following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 26, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Multiple police officers armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield stood and waited in a school hallway for nearly an hour while a gunman carried out a massacre of 19 elementary students and two teachers, according to a Monday news report that marks the latest embarrassing revelation about the failure of law enforcement to thwart the attack.

The officers with heavier firepower and tactical equipment were there within 19 minutes of the gunman arriving on campus — earlier than previously known, according to documents reviewed by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV.

The outlets’ report, which did not indicate the source of the documents, nevertheless intensifies the anguish and questions over why police didn’t act sooner to stop the May 24 slaughter in the Robb Elementary School classroom.

The information is to be presented to a public Texas Senate hearing in Austin on Tuesday. Investigators say the latest information indicates officers had more than enough firepower and protection to take down the gunman long before they finally did, the outlets reported.

The timeline the American-Statesman and KVUE reported from the documents included footage from inside the school that showed the 18-year-old gunman casually entering a rear door at 11:33 a.m., walking to a classroom and immediately spraying gunfire before barricading himself. Video showed 11 officers entering the school three minutes later, the outlets reported.

School district police Chief Pete Arredondo called the Uvalde Police Department landline and reported that their suspect had “shot a lot” with an AR-15-style rifle and outgunned the officers at the school, who he said were armed only with pistols, the outlets reported.

Four minutes later, at 11:44 a.m., body camera video recorded the sound of more gunshots. At 11:52 a.m., the first ballistic shield arrived as officers grew impatient to act. Arredondo struggled to find a key to the classroom door even though no one is believed to have tried opening the door, the outlets reported.

Another officer with a ballistic shield arrived at 12:03 p.m., and another came with a shield two minutes later. About 30 minutes before officers finally breached the classroom door at 12:50 p.m., Arredondo is heard wondering aloud if the gunman could be shot through a window. Only at 12:46 p.m. did Arredondo tell the tactical team members to breach the door when ready, the outlets reported.

In the past week, the San Antonio Express-News reported that video surveillance footage from the school did not show officers attempting to open the door leading to the classrooms where the massacre was happening. And The New York Times reported two Uvalde city police officers told a sheriff’s deputy that they passed up a fleeting chance to shoot the gunman while he was still outside the school because they feared they would hit children.

Delays in the law enforcement response have been the focus of the federal, state and local investigation of the massacre and its aftermath. Questions about the law enforcement response began days after the massacre. Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said on May 27 that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” when he chose not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, even as trapped fourth graders inside two classrooms were desperately calling 911 for help.

Arredondo later said he didn’t consider himself the person in charge and assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response. Arredondo has declined repeated requests for comment to The Associated Press.

State police initially said the gunman entered through an exterior door that had been propped open by a teacher. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said on May 31, though, that the teacher closed the door after realizing a shooter was on campus, but it did not lock as it should have.

On June 2, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez said it was a “system failure” that Arredondo received no word of the pleas for help from people inside the school because he had no two-way radio link with city police.

“I want to know specifically who was receiving the 911 calls,” Gutierrez said during a news conference.

The Uvalde school board heard from members of the public Monday, including relatives of those killed in the attack. They took turns criticizing the police response and what they described as lax security measures at the school in general.

Lyliana Garcia, 16, is the daughter of teacher Irma Garcia, who was killed in the shooting, and José Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later. They had four children — a Marine, a college student, a seventh grader and Lyliana.

“The knowledge of being orphaned at such a young age is inconceivable,” she told the school board. “These are the consequences my family has to suffer due to the lack of due diligence. I would like to share a quote of one of my sister’s agonizing cries. She said, ‘My mom died protecting her students, but who was protecting my mom?’”

A legislative committee looking at law enforcement response completed another day of closed-door hearings in Uvalde on Monday.

State Rep. Dustin Burrows, who is chairing the committee investigating the school shooting, had said at the start of the day’s session that the panel would hear more witness testimony from the Uvalde Police Department, as well as from another officer from the school district police and a member of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

After Burrows’ opening statements during the committee hearing in Uvalde, the committee went into executive session, blocking the public from hearing witness testimony. Burrows did not immediately emerge from the executive session Monday afternoon to make a statement on the day’s testimony.

Burrows said that testimony would continue on Tuesday in Austin. He said he hoped to provide information on when at least a preliminary report would be released to the public.

___

Find more AP coverage of the Uvalde school shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

[FILE] Jail Handcuffs (KSL-TV)...
Michael Houck

Utah man pleads guilty to child pornography charges in Virginia

A Cedar City man has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges after sending explicit videos to an undercover FBI agent in Virginia.
21 hours ago
Kevin Johnson is shown at the Clayton Courthouse Tuesday, April 3, 2007, in Clayton, Mo....
Dakin Andone, CNN

Man who murdered police officer in 2005 has been executed in Missouri

(CNN) — Kevin Johnson — a death row inmate who was convicted in the 2005 murder of a Kirkwood, Missouri, police officer but claimed racial bias in his prosecution — was executed Tuesday night by lethal injection. Johnson, 37, was pronounced dead at 7:40 p.m. CT. He didn’t give a final statement, according to Missouri […]
21 hours ago
A tree is down on top of a trailer home....
Amir Vera, Jason Hanna, Melissa Alonso and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

At least 2 killed in Alabama as severe storms and tornadoes sweep across the South

Severe storms and tornadoes swept through parts of the South from Tuesday into Wednesday morning, killing at least two people in Alabama and damaging homes, other buildings and downing trees in several states, officials said.
21 hours ago
A police officer making an announcement behind a podium for the San Francisco Police Department...
JANIE HAR Associated Press

San Francisco will allow police to deploy robots that kill

The Democratic San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to allow police to use potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations. The vote Tuesday was 8 to 3. Civil rights advocates opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to further militarization of police. The San Francisco Police Department said it would like the option to deploy robots equipped with explosive charges to disable suspects when lives are at stake. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is divided on support for law enforcement. A new state law requires police and sheriffs departments to inventory its military grade equipment and seek approval for their use.
21 hours ago
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07:  Danny Masterson speaks during a Launch Event for Netflix "The Ranch: Part...
BRIAN MELLEY and ANDREW DALTON, Associated Press

Mistrial declared in actor Danny Masterson’s rape trial

A judge has declared a mistrial at the rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson.
21 hours ago
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) (C) holds a news conference after he was elected leader of the 118th Co...
LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent

Jeffries wins historic bid to lead House Dems after Pelosi

House Democrats ushered in a new generation of leaders on Wednesday with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries elected to be the first Black American to head a major political party in Congress at a pivotal time as long-serving Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside next year.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Report: Police in Uvalde had rifles earlier than known