Several police officers armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield were inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, less than 20 minutes after the gunman entered and began shooting in a classroom, according to a new report.
Armed officers were seen in a school hallway at 11:52 a.m., 19 minutes after the gunman entered adjoining classrooms at 11:33 a.m., where he killed 19 children and two teachers last month, but law enforcement did not breach the room for another 58 minutes, according to documents and video reported by the Austin American-Statesman on Monday.
The new revelations shed light on the timeline of the law enforcement response, which has been revised multiple times, and suggests that officers may have had the necessary firepower to confront the shooter earlier than previously known.
BREAKING: Multiple officers were inside Robb Elementary School with rifles and at least one ballistic shield at 11:52 a.m. the day of the shooting, new video and other evidence shows. They didn’t enter the classroom for another 58 minutes. More soon via @statesman and @KVUE. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/0BcYgq2hcQ
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) June 20, 2022
Eleven officers entered the school within three minutes of the gunman, according to the report. The chief of the school district police, Pete Arredondo, then called for backup at 11:40 p.m. with a landline.
“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 firepower right now,” Arredondo said. “It’s all pistols.”
Four minutes later, at 11:44 a.m, body camera footage registered gunshots from the gunman within the classroom. The first officer with a ballistic shield entered the school minutes later, at 11:52 a.m., according to footage.
It took officers until 12:50 p.m. to breach the classroom and kill the gunman, who was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos and was armed with an AR-style rifle.
“Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” Arredondo previously told the Texas Tribune. “We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced.” The report also noted he assumed some other officer had taken command of the larger response.
The timeline of events has been the subject of scrutiny for multiple investigations headed by state and federal agencies that have questioned what happened in the over 70 minutes that elapsed between when the gunman entered the classroom on May 24 and when he was killed by law enforcement, even as trapped fourth graders called for help.
New details surrounding the shooting are expected to be presented during a hearing Tuesday in the Texas Senate.