It took only a few hours for the horror stories surrounding the Robb Elementary School massacre to mutate, transforming from another tragic school shooting to something far, far more worrisome: An abject failure by local police.
In the days following the slaughter of 19 children and 2 teachers by a teenage gunman, social media users began to witness something disturbing: Video evidence of police not only refusing to enter the school during the active shooter situation, but also forcefully restraining parents, bystanders, and brave samaritans who were begging to go save whatever children that they could.
And then came video footage from inside the school that showed officers standing around, not confronting the shooter, for over an hour.
This week, more of that surveillance video was released to the public, and what the nation saw infuriated them.
The footage shows the gunman, who authorities have identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, firing multiple shots from an AR-15 style rifle outside the school, then entering the building at 11:33 a.m. and shooting his way into adjoining classrooms.Trending:
A barrage of more than 100 bullets were fired inside those two classrooms over the next two-and-a-half minutes before seven officers ran into the school at 11:36, two of them armed with rifles and four others armed with handguns.
But here is where it gets truly worrisome:
Officers were on the scene before the gunman entered the school, as one officer had the suspect in his rifle sights and asked permission to shoot, but the supervisor either didn’t hear the request or didn’t respond in time, allowing the suspect to enter the school, according to a report released by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center.
Regardless, the gunman appeared to fire from inside the classroom at 11:37 at the officers, who retreated back down the hallway.
Ballistic shields arrived at 11:52 a.m. and 12:04 p.m., along with other officers armed with rifles, bulletproof vests, helmets and other tactical gear.
At 12:21 p.m., officers walked down the hallway to position themselves closer to the classroom doorway. At 12:30, an officer can be seen walking over to a hand sanitizer dispenser and disinfecting his hands.
The classroom door was finally breached at 12:50 p.m., 74 minutes after the first officers entered the school.
Some authorities were livid:
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw has cast the blame on Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo for the delayed response.
“Three minutes after the suspect entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject,” McCraw told a special Texas senate committee that is investigating the shooting.
“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.”
There are several ongoing investigations into the shooting, including one being helmed by the Department of Justice.