New report reveals Uvalde shooting “could have been prevented in three minutes.”
The United States is experiencing a critical epidemic beyond the coronavirus pandemic: the shooting epidemic. Hundreds of deaths in countless shootings in recent months have taken the debate on the use and appropriateness of guns to its most extreme side. One of the latest and most tragic was the massacre at Robb First School in Uvalde, Texas, which left twenty-one dead, nineteen of them children.
A new report has revealed that, on that May 24, eleven officers, including Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, were inside the school in the first three minutes after Salvador Ramos, the gunman who triggered the shooting, entered the school.
After Ramos shot at the officers and hid in connected classrooms 111 and 112, police officers remained stationed in an adjacent hallway. Arredondo, who has been identified by other officers as the incident commander, had previously stated that the officers had found that the classroom doors, reinforced with a steel jamb, were locked.
The attacker entered one of the classrooms at 11:33 a.m. and began shooting, while agents killed him at 12:50 p.m.
Preliminary evidence suggests that none of the agents had attempted to open any of the doors until moments before shooting the attacker. For his part, Ramos fired, exited briefly and re-entered to reopen fire on the restrained children.
By the time Arredondo called dispatch, at least eleven officers had entered the school, two of them carrying rifles. The security video footage you can see in this article shows at least three officers in the hallway, two of whom have rifles and one officer is protected by a tactical shield. Those images happened at 11:52 a.m., nineteen minutes after the attacker entered the school.
In this video, you can hear the dialogue between the police officers: “If there are children there, we have to go in there,” said one officer. Another police officer responded, “Whoever is in charge will determine that.” Meanwhile, another officer responds at 11:50 a.m. that “the chief is in charge,” referring to Arredondo. But Arredondo has stated that he did not consider himself the incident commander that day, according to the media outlet.
Finally, at 12:46 cameras show Arredondo indicating to other officers at 12:46 p.m. that a SWAT response team was ready to break down the door. Just four minutes later, the attacker was dead.
Uvalde (Texas) Police Chief Pete Arredondo is suspended for as long as the investigation remains open, in order to clarify his actions during the Uvalde shooting, for not following protocols and putting his own safety before the lives of children.