According to a recent news report, the police in Uvalde, Texas, never attempted to open a classroom door while a gunman spent 77 minutes killing 19 children and two teachers who were inside.
A law enforcement source told the San Antonio Express-News that surveillance footage from Robb Elementary School shows that police made no effort to open the door. The report further states there is reason to believe it may have been unlocked.
The surveillance footage from the May 24 massacre has not been publicly released but has been seen by the Express-News.
According to the source, investigators believe the shooter who killed 19 children and two teachers at the school could not have locked the door to the connected classrooms from the inside.
The source said that all classroom doors at Robb Elementary are designed to lock automatically when closed. Police might have assumed the door was locked, but the latest evidence suggests it may have been open the whole time, possibly due to a malfunction.
The surveillance footage shows that the gunman was able to open the door to classroom 111 and enter with an assault-style rifle, the source said.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 19, 2022
The gunman entered the school building at 11:33 a.m. through an exterior door that had been pulled shut but didn’t lock automatically as it was supposed to, indicating another malfunction in door locks at the school.
Two minutes after the gunman entered the school, three Uvalde police officers chased him inside. Footage shows the gunman firing rounds inside classrooms 111 and 112, briefly returning to the hallway, and then re-entering through the unlocked door.
The footage shows the gunman firing toward officers through the classroom door.
A custodian brought a large set of keys to the officers in an effort to gain access to the classroom. However, none of the officers attempted to use the keys on the actual classroom door, instead trying nearby doors to locate a potential master key.
Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief, said he spent more than an hour in the school hallway. He told the Texas Tribune that he called for tactical gear, a sniper, and keys to get inside. He said he held officers back from the door to the classrooms for 40 minutes to avoid gunfire.
While the police waited for a tactical team to arrive, children and teachers inside the classrooms called 911 at least seven times with desperate pleas for help.
However, the source said that officers had access to a “halligan,” a crowbar-like tool that could have opened the door to the classrooms even if it was locked.
Customs and Border Patrol Officers finally opened the door to the classroom and killed the gunman at 12:50 p.m.
— Portia Pro-Choice McGonagal (@PortiaMcGonagal) June 19, 2022
The events of the day are under investigation. According to Axios, Uvalde Police hired a lawyer to stop the release of the surveillance footage to the public, citing that it could be emotionally distressful and embarrassing.
In a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the city’s lawyer Cynthia Trevino argues that Uvalde should not have to release the footage because some records could include “highly embarrassing information.”