Since the tragic mass shooting that took place at Robb Elementary located in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, RedState has reported extensively about the shooting itself as well as on the ensuing investigation into the response of law enforcement to the incident.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, there were numerous questions raised about the timing of the incident: What caused more than an hour go by between the shooting suspect's entry into the school and being removed? What was the reason that law enforcement seemed to respond as if it was the case of a suspect being held in a barricaded situation instead of an active shooter incident? Perhaps the most disturbing of all, did any teachers or children get killed after police arrived? Could any of the people who were killed have survived if emergency personnel had could have reached them in just a few minutes, instead of a full hour?
Tony Plohetski from the Austin American-Statesman has remained on the top of his game.
Plohetski said on Wednesday that the newspaper obtained video footage inside the school as well as footage from the body camera, which shows the police's action against the shooter.
The article that follows provides the complete chronology of events, with edited versions of the film as well as the complete version.
(Author's note: I watched the 4 minute video. It's shocking and heartbreaking. I'm not going to sit through the entire hour and twenty-two minutes of the video, however it's true that both are included in the article.)
The gunman is able to walk into Robb Elementary School unimpeded, just moments after spraying bullets with his semi-automatic gun outside the school and following numerous 911 calls from the inside and outside of the Uvalde School.
He slowed down and glances at a corner in the hallway, and then flips back his hair, before heading towards rooms 112 and 111.
Then, a boy with neatly combed hair and glasses exits the bathroom and heads back to class. When he is about to turn around, he spots the gunman standing near the classroom door and then shooting his first shot.
The boy turns around and sprints back to the bathroom.
The gunman walks into one classroom. Children scream. The gunfire continues, ceases, and then it starts up again. The gunfire stops and then begins again. Then again. And again.
It's nearly three minutes when three officers appear in the same hallway. They rush towards the classrooms, in a crouch. After that, shots are fired. One officer takes one on the top of his head. They swiftly retreat to the far end of the hallway, right beneath a camera of the school.
A 77-minute video recorded from this vantage point as well as body camera footage taken by one of the officers who responded as obtained by the American-Statesman as well as KVUE, show in awe-inspiring detail the dozens of officers sworn duty to local, state, and federal—all heavily equipped, wearing body armor and helmets and some wearing shields to protect themselves, moving between each other through the hallways, some leave the camera's frame returning, while others are training their weapons towards the classroom, speaking on cellphones, calling as well as sending texts, while studying floor plans but not actually attempting to get into the classrooms.
Perhaps anticipating criticism over the choice to release the troubling video, the editor of the Statesman, Manny Garcia, penned an article titled, What the Austin-American Statesman Decided to Release a Video From Inside Robb Elementary. In it, Garcia explains:
The video we got is about one hour and 22 mins long. It's tragic to watch and listen to. Our decision to release together with our media partner KVUE is the result of lengthy and thought-provoking discussions.
The Statesman is publishing two versions of the video. One version was edited down to less than four minutes. It highlights key moments like the ease at which the gunmen entered the school, how he fired through a classroom, the resounding sound of gunfire and finally, the inability of police in stopping the perpetrator for 77 mins as a plethora of heavily armed policemen line up in the hallway of the school before a group of police finally enters the classroom to kill the shooter.
The report after-action—officially titled “Robb Elementary School Attack Response Assessment and Recommendations” The report has a total of 26 pages. It is comprised of an Introduction, a detailed Timeline, the Physical Assessment and Tactical Assessment, and a Supplement to Breaching Assessment and opportunities.
From page 15 in the document:
ALERRT is a school that teaches first responders primary goal in an active shooter scenario will be first to Stop The Killing and the next step is to Stop the Dying (ALERRT & FBI 2020, page. 2-9, 2-15-2-16). What is inherent in both stopping the killing and dying process is the life-span priority scale (ALERRT and FBI 2020 2-9, Pages. 2-6 & 2-34). In the top position on this scale, the primary concern is to ensure the safety of potential survivors. In the second place is the security of officers and lastly, the suspect. This order means that officers are expected to take on the risk of saving innocent lives. Responding to active shooters is a dangerous job (Blair and Duron 2022). There is a risk that officers could be wounded, shot or even killed when responding. This is something each officer must be aware of whenever they become an officer in law enforcement.
and Page 16:
It's not unexpected that police officers who had never had to face a gunshot before were awestruck by targeted fire. This is particularly the case when they were not regularly trained to face the threat. But, even when they retreated, the officers were still confronted by the clear threat of driving. The suspect was firing his weapon as police entered the premises, and an honest officer would think that there were people injured within the classrooms. The officers were also aware that the suspect was alive, and was preventing them from reaching those who were wounded inside the classrooms. They are also an important factor in the decision-making process (ALERRT and FBI 2020, page. 2-17) When the police left, they could have swiftly devised a strategy to end the attack and get access to the injured. There were a number of possible strategies which could have been executed.
The full report is available below.
According to the Statesman:
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw has said that the person whom he identified as the incident commander, the school District Officer Chief Pete Arredondo, treated the incident as a barricaded matter that requires an accelerated, systematic intervention and not an active shooter scenario that is where police are tasked with doing whatever is possible to stop a shooter, even putting their own lives at risk. It was a mistake, McCraw says. Officers should have confronted and stopped the shooter as soon as they arrived armed with enough firearms to enter the classroom and stop gunfire, McCraw has said.
McCraw has identified Arredondo as the culprit in stopping officers from coming in earlier than they had. The video does show a number of responding agencies at this scene. They include police officers who are from Uvalde Police Department, Uvalde County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Texas Rangers.
As Garcia mentions in the editorial:
We know today thanks to many news media organizations continuing to look for facts—that a few students were calling 911 inside the classroom seeking help, the teacher was seriously injured and was able to hear police officers out of her classroom, and 911 dispatchers were taking desperate calls.
Also, we know irritated parents, relatives and students gathered outside of the school demanded that authorities get involved.
I've never worked in law enforcement, and I won't claim to be able to tell you the horrors of having to deal with this kind of violence. I feel great sympathy not just for the victims and their families as well as for the first responders who must deal suffering the effects of an incredibly tragic incident. It's difficult to watch the footage and look over the reports and come to from the fact that something was terribly wrong and that's not just the insane gunman choosing to unleash his anger on thousands of innocent people.