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Armed Officers Entered Robb Elementary Within 19 Minutes

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Memorials outside off Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. | Image by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

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The police response to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, was an “abject failure,” as police lives were prioritized over those of students, according to a top Texas official.

“There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” said Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.


“Three minutes after the subject entered the West building, there was sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject. The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said.

McCraw appeared at a public Texas Senate committee hearing investigating last month’s mass killing. The special committee began hearings on June 16 in Austin, according to The Dallas Express.

According to a timeline in surveillance footage exclusively obtained by The Austin American-Statesman and ABC News, multiple police officers armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield entered Robb Elementary School 19 minutes after the shooting began.

Concerns have been raised about how police handled the May 24 shooting in Uvalde, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers. Law enforcement reportedly did not confront the gunman for more than an hour, despite pleas from distraught parents outside the school.

Footage from school cameras shows that the 18-year-old gunman casually entered a rear door shortly after 11:30 a.m., walked to a classroom, and immediately opened fire before barricading himself inside. According to reports, footage from those cameras and body cameras worn by responding officers shows 11 officers entering the school three minutes later.

The school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, called the Uvalde police department’s landline telephone and reported that the suspect had “shot a lot” with an AR-15 and “out-matched” the officers at the school, whom he said were armed only with pistols.

At 11:44 a.m., body camera video captured the sound of more gunshots. Shortly after, additional officers began responding to the scene, armed with ballistic shields. Also called tactical shields, these are handheld protective devices designed to stop or deflect bullets or projectiles.

The first officer with a ballistic shield arrived at 11:52 a.m., and officers grew impatient to act. According to ABC News, Arredondo struggled to find a key to the classroom, although no officer is believed to have attempted to open the door.

A second officer with a ballistic shield arrived at 12:03 p.m., followed by another two minutes later, ABC News reports. About 30 minutes before officers broke down the classroom door, Arredondo is heard wondering aloud whether law enforcement could shoot the gunman through a window.

Recently obtained video surveillance footage from the school did not show officers attempting to open the door into the classrooms where the massacre occurred, The San Antonio Express-News reported.

Two City of Uvalde police officers told a sheriff’s deputy that they passed up a brief opportunity to shoot at and potentially wound or kill the gunman while he was still outside the school because they were afraid of hitting children, Fox News reported.

Federal, state, and local investigations into the massacre and its aftermath have focused on the adequacy of law enforcement response and the reason for its delay.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, McCraw stated that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” by choosing not to rush the classroom for more than 70 minutes, as trapped fourth-graders inside two classrooms desperately dialed 911 for assistance.

Arredondo, an alumnus of Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, said that he feels he did everything he could to protect the lives of his neighbors.

“My mind was to get there as fast as possible, eliminate any threats, and protect the students and staff,” Arredondo said.

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ed lopez
ed lopez
14 days ago

The state of texas (Abbott) has tried to place the blame on the school police , who did not have the equipment nor the training to deal with this situation ! Not one state DPS officer had anything to do with stopping the killer. The Border Patrol did the job.

Spencer
Spencer
Reply to  ed lopez
14 days ago

School police are a complete waste of education resources.

caseyp
caseyp
Reply to  Spencer
14 days ago

I disagree. Many are previously trained volunteers and dedicated to do what is expected of them. The Uvalde police were cowards.

Mary Dominguez
Mary Dominguez
Reply to  caseyp
13 days ago

totally agree, cowards, Arredondo should be held accountable for this tragedy, he should be fired and prosecuted!

Bum Phillips- Amarican
Bum Phillips- Amarican
Reply to  ed lopez
14 days ago

Nor the intelligence to handle a dangerous situation

caseyp
caseyp
14 days ago

If the the on-scene commander is not charged with 19 counts of unintentional manslaughter he should be at least fired. All of the other officers should also be fired for being cowards and not upholding their oath to protect people of the community.

Bum Phillips- Amarican
Bum Phillips- Amarican
Reply to  caseyp
14 days ago

I hate to rain on your parade. BUT, he has already quit and is now a member of the Uvalde City Council.

Bum Phillips- Amarican
Bum Phillips- Amarican
14 days ago

If I have said it once. I have said it a million times. Growing up in Texas has given me a unique perspective as to whether or not Mexicans should be placed in a position of authority in a high stress situation. They do not generally have the IQ to handle this type of situation, and this incident just proves what I said. They are great at following orders. But, do not trust them if your life depends upon the decision.

Mary Dominguez
Mary Dominguez
13 days ago

This is the most tragic incident in our state involving children, as stories regarding the investigation continue to develop, the more truth come out and Arredondo’s lies continue to pile up,

I hope Arredondo is prosecuted for all the life’s lost due to his arrogance, cowardness and incompetence, he’s actions were deplorable, he should be fired and held accountable for this tragedy, unbelievable!

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