UVALDE – New surveillance video of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School has been obtained by the Austin American-Statesman.
The newspaper published portions of the 77-minute video on Tuesday afternoon. Officials had said earlier Tuesday that the video wouldn’t be released to the public until next week, after families of victims had seen it.
The footage shows the 18-year-old shooter entering the school with a high-powered rifle and how police responded.
The Statesman edited the video to remove the screams of the children, but the footage is still very graphic in nature and viewer discretion is advised.
“A 77-minute video recording captured from this vantage point, along with body camera footage from one of the responding officers, obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE, shows in excruciating detail dozens of sworn officers, local, state and federal — heavily armed, clad in body armor, with helmets, some with protective shields — walking back and forth in the hallway, some leaving the camera frame and then reappearing, others training their weapons toward the classroom, talking, making cellphone calls, sending texts and looking at floor plans, but not entering or attempting to enter the classrooms,” the Statesman wrote in their article.
New footage emerges
The video starts with surveillance footage of the shooter crashing a vehicle near Robb Elementary on May 24 before firing three shots at two men who approached the crash scene.
It then dubs audio of a teacher calling 911 to report that a gunman is at the school over video of the gunman shooting the school from the outside.
The footage then shows the gunman enter the school wearing black and toting a high-powered rifle. Shortly after, a young student sees the gunman in the hallway.
“As (the student) begins to turn the corner, he notices the gunman standing by the classroom door and then unloading the first barrage,” the Statesman reported.
The student runs back into a bathroom as the shooter enters one of the classrooms.
Police can be seen running into the building just minutes later.
A handful of officers approach the classroom but can be seen sprinting back down the hallway, away from the classroom, after seemingly taking fire from the gunman.
No rescue attempts are made in the following hour despite a large number of heavily armed officers continuing to arrive.
The officers are seen standing in the hallway with rifles and ballistic shields even as more gunshots ring out from the shooter.
Nine minutes after those four gunshots can be heard, one responding officer gets some hand sanitizer from a dispenser on the wall as he is standing among other officers.
Responding officers waited in the hallway for a total of 77 minutes before entering the classroom and killing the gunman.
Uvalde DA refuses comment
KSAT 12 Reporter Leigh Waldman approached Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee shortly after the Statesman published the video and asked for a comment.
Mitchell Busbee refused to answer any questions and asked Waldman to leave her office as a police officer stood at the door.
We stopped by the DA’s office today hoping to get a comment on the videos release or comment on why she’s blocked the release of video. At the end you’ll hear Christina Mitchell Busbee ask us to leave and offer no comment. @ksatnews pic.twitter.com/fLJcOkJYCb— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) July 12, 2022
Mayor responds after video released
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told ABC News the following after the release of the video:
“Whether it’s the DPS or the district attorney, this was chicken to blindside these families this way, you know. These families, they need to see the video, but they don’t need to see the gunman going in there. They don’t need to listen to those gunshots. They know what happened in that classroom. Why put them through that? Half of these families are out of town right now, Washington, D.C., not even with the rest of their family, and they got to turn on the TV tonight and see this crap. I’m sorry. That’s wrong. These families were blindsided. They shouldn’t be done this way. I see there is, I mean, you can see there’s a number of law enforcement agencies here. And I don’t know what went on in that hallway. But I’ve said from day one, everybody in there always got to be accountable for their actions that day -- everybody. The video needs to be released. I’m not mad about the video being released because I’ve been advocating for them. I’m mad because of the way it was done and blindsided these families. No warning to them, no nothing. They got the warning two minutes to two minutes before it went out.”
McLaughlin also released the following statement on Tuesday night after the city council meeting:
“I am angry that the victim’s families and the Uvalde community’s request to watch the video first before it was made public did not happen. I share Representative Burrows’ disappointment, and believe that watching the entire video of law enforcement’s response or lack of response is also very important to understanding what happened on May 24. Regardless, it is unbelievable that this video was posted as part of a news story with images and audio of the violence of this incident without consideration for the families involved. I continue to stand behind my statements that full transparency and consideration for the families remains the priority as it relates to this incident.”
Video adds to growing frustration
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, one of the responding officers said, “There was almost a mutiny. We were like, ‘There’s a f---ing gunman in the school, we hear gunshots, and we’re just going to stand here with our thumbs up our asses?’”
A report, published July 7 by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center, details one officer trying to get into the classroom in an effort to save his wife during those 77 minutes. She was one of the two teachers killed in the shooting.
That officer was Uvalde CISD officer Ruben Ruiz who was trying to save his wife Eva Mireles. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steven McCraw revealed during testimony that Mireles called her husband to say she was shot and was dying.
Ruiz was detained, escorted out of the building and had his gun taken away, McCraw said.
Earlier today, state Representative Dustin Burrows said he intended to release the video regardless of a nondisclosure agreement with the Texas Department of Public Safety, but wanted Uvalde families to have the opportunity to see it first.
He planned to meet with members of the community on Sunday.
The committee is aware a portion of the hallway video has been made public. While I am glad that a small portion is now available for the public, I do believe watching the entire segment of law enforcement’s response, or lack thereof, is also important.— Dustin Burrows (@Burrows4TX) July 12, 2022
Families blindsided by video leak
Families and community members had heated, explicit words about the video leak before the victims’ loved ones had a chance to see it.
“You didn’t have to do this. I don’t wanna hear my children’s screaming. I didn’t wanna hear the gunfire,” said one victim’s mother during a news conference on Tuesday.
Leticia Hernandez, aunt of 9-year-old Jackie Cazares, posted on her Facebook, asking, “How can they do that without thinking of the family first?”
Vincent Salazar, father of 11-year-old Layla Salazar, said now that the video is out, he wants to know what will happen next.
“There was a failure at every level, and the video is, I’m sure, going to shed light to that, but where does the accountability start? That’s what we want to know. Who is going to be held responsible, and when is it going to start happening?” Salazar asked.
Community members also weighed in at a Uvalde City Council meeting with a heated back and forth with officials.
Adam Martinez, a father of two whose 8-year-old was at Robb Elementary the day of the shooting, questioned the officers’ actions during an exchange with Councilman Ernest W. “Chip” King.
Martinez spoke with KSAT after the meeting, saying, “Did anybody see them do a good job? Just because they tried to go in there, was that good enough? Was that good enough for the people that were bleeding out? That wasn’t good enough.”
The council voted to accept Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo’s resignation from the city council. The motion was met with cheers.
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