UVALDE, Texas — On Monday, KVUE and its news partners at the Austin American-Statesman obtained surveillance footage from inside Robb Elementary School on the day of the May 24 shooting.
The footage shows that multiple officers were inside the building with rifles and at least one ballistic shield, nine minutes after the gunman arrived. They didn’t enter the classroom the shooter was inside for another 58 minutes.
Investigators believe this will prove to be a significant development as it indicates they had more than enough firepower and protection to enter that classroom before they actually did.
Authorities have since developed their most extensive timeline yet since the shooting, in which an 18-year-old armed with an AR-15 walked into the school, killing 19 students and two teachers. Much of this new information is expected to be presented at a Texas Senate hearing on Tuesday, the first of two consecutive days at the Capitol where members of the public can address lawmakers.
The May 24 response by law enforcement has been under heavy scrutiny after the Texas DPS revealed that officers waited more than 70 minutes to confront the shooter, even as trapped students called 911 for help.
According to the latest timeline, officers ultimately breached the classroom at 12:50 p.m. The shooter entered at 11:33 a.m.
The Statesman reports that authorities have reconstructed the events of the attack using footage from inside the school, which showed the gunman entering a rear door, walking to a classroom and immediately opening fire before barricading himself. This timeline was also built using body camera video from more than a dozen officers inside Robb Elementary.
Based on the newest information, it is believed that 11 officers entered the school within three minutes of the gunman. District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the Uvalde Police Department at 11:40 a.m. 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 fire power right now,” he said. “It’s all pistols.”
He did not have a radio on him at the time.
At 11:44 a.m., body camera footage then detects more shots from the gunman. At 11:52 a.m., an officer with the first ballistic shield enters the school and other officers grow more impatient. In body camera footage, you can hear one officer say, “If there’s kids in there, we need to go in there.”
Based on body camera footage, it is believed that Arredondo was trying to find keys to open the classroom, even though officials say they do not believe officers tried to open the door.
At 12:03 p.m., an officer with another shield enters the school, followed by a third two minutes later. New information also suggests that Arredondo also attempted to communicate with the gunman, asking whether he could hear him.
About 30 minutes before breaching the classroom, Arredondo is heard wondering aloud wither officers could consider shooting the suspect through the classroom’s windows.
Then, at 12:46 p.m., the timeline shows that Arredondo told SWAT officers who had arrived that they should breach the classroom door as soon as they were ready. By this time, medical personnel had arrived and they began tending to the children after the suspect was dead.
According to the agenda for this week’s hearings, there is no mention of limiting access to firearms. Republican lawmakers have insisted that gun restrictions are not on the table.
To read the Statesman’s full report, click here.