Security camera images leaked from inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a mass shooting took place on May 24, reveal police officers were present with high powered rifles and ballistic shields, but stood around for over an hour, as 19 young students and two teachers were slaughtered. The two still images, captured from security cameras in the school, are just the latest pieces of evidence that directly contradict the official narrative provided by police shortly after the massacre.
The two images were leaked to local Texas TV station KVUE, the Austin-American Statesman, and the Texas Tribune, which have been able to assemble detailed timelines of police activity, or inactivity, during the mass shooting. KVUE reports the station was able to view the security camera footage but does not currently have possession of the video.
On Tuesday, the Texas Director of Public Safety Steven McCraw called the cops’ response an “abject failure.” In stunning remarks, he laid out a damning timeline of the police presence at Robb.
“Three minutes after the subject entered the west hallway, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor, to isolate distract and neutralize the subject,” he said.
“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
“The officers had weapons. The children had none. The officers had body armor. The children had none,” McCraw said.
He continued to lambast the on-scene commander: “One hour, 14 minutes and eight seconds. That’s how long the children waited and the teachers waited in rooms 111 to be rescued. And while they waited, the on-scene commander waited for radios and rifles. Then he waited for shields. Then he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for key that was never needed.”
The KVUE reporter who saw the footage strongly hinted on his Monday night broadcast that someone helping to conduct the current investigation into the shooting allowed reporters to view the security camera footage in its entirety, which clearly shows cops just waiting around after they drew fire from the shooter. Numerous news outlets have been denied official access to the footage through public records requests.
Last night’s segment from KVUE, which is available on YouTube, includes an image that’s time-stamped from security cameras at 11:52 a.m. local time, as you can see in the screenshot above. You can also see the officers standing still and even just leaning against the wall, something they did for over an hour. The shooter first entered the school at 11:33 a.m., according to the Austin-American Statesman.
The image published by the Texas Tribune does not show the time-stamp but the news outlet reports it was taken at 12:04 p.m. local time. The Tribune reports that, according to the footage, police did not even try to open the doors to the classrooms, contradicting the version of events first told by police. The news outlet notes, “some law enforcement officials are skeptical that the doors were ever locked.”
The Tribune includes a detailed timeline, taken from the security camera footage as well as transcripts of police radio chatter. And after the gunman first fired shots at police, the Tribune reports gunfire could be heard at least three more times, at 11:40 a.m., 11:44 a.m., and 12:21 p.m., local time. The police didn’t budge, despite hearing those shots.
Police didn’t actually storm the classroom until 12:50 p.m., according to the Tribune. Parents waiting outside heard gunshots while desperately trying to get to their children during that agonizing hour.
There’s no word on whether the security camera footage will ever be released publicly, but that seems unlikely since the Tribune reports it includes footage of dead children being moved out into the hallway:
The fisheye camera in the hallway captured a single first responder standing in the center of the hallway, his surgical-gloved hands motioning to others standing behind him to remain there until all the officers exited. Once he got that signal, he directed the team to move quickly inside rooms 111 and 112. Gurneys and ambulance backboards suddenly popped into view.
The first to reach the victims inside pulled motionless, bloodied children onto the hallway’s linoleum flooring as they tried to assess their vital signs. None of the children appeared to make a sound. One child whose still body was placed on the floor had to be gently pushed to make room for others streaming in and and out, his blood leaving a wide swath of crimson across the hallway floor.
The issue of whether to show dead children in the aftermath of mass shootings has been a contentious one, to say the least. Some people believe it could spur reforms to America’s lax gun laws. Others believe it will re-traumatize victims, inspire violent copycats, and fail to accomplish any reforms.
The Uvalde massacre is the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history and became yet another focal point in America’s terrible gun debate. Democrats have asked for literally anything to be done to fix the U.S. gun problem, while Republicans insist guns aren’t the problem and America should instead fixate on “mental health” solutions.
However, the U.S. is not the only wealthy country in the world with mental health challenges. It is the only wealthy country in the world with frequent mass shootings.
The Texas state Senate is scheduled to hold hearings today about the police response to the mass shooting. But any mention of gun control is reportedly off limits, according to the Austin-American Statesman. Republicans have made sure that limiting access to guns has been banned from the agenda.
Update, 12:55 p.m. ET: Remarks from the Texas Director of Public Safety were added.