Security video released Tuesday by two Texas news outlets shows police officers retreating from the classroom where a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The video, which was shot in a hallway and was obtained and edited by the Austin American statesman and KVUE TV from Austinshows officers arriving at Robb Elementary School at 11:36 am on May 24, three minutes after the gunman entered the school and walked down an empty hallway.
NBC News did not independently obtain the video, which provided the first picture of a law enforcement response calling a Texas public security official an “abject failure.”
About 20 seconds after the 18-year-old gunman enters the school, he turns to the left and opens fire on a classroom.
Authorities have said he fired at least 100 rounds from an AR-15-style rifle into adjacent classrooms filled mainly with fourth-graders.
It was horrifying that a student who, according to the KVUE, had been in the bathroom — and was only a few steps behind the shooter — could be seen in the video walking away from the gunfire after watching the first set of shots.
The American statesman reported that the student was later rescued†
About a minute later, after several officers approach the classroom, a second gunshot is heard and a cop is able to run down the hallway. Two others follow him slowly.
It is not clear from which authorities the agents belonged. Local, state and federal agencies involved in the response did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday night.
In the hour following the second round of gunfire, the video shows the number of officers in the hallway swell.
At 12:21 pm several agents with tactical gear can be seen approaching the classroom, but it is not until 12:50 pm that agents enter and fatally shoot the gunman.
While officers wait, one can be seen rubbing what appears to be disinfectant on his hands after crossing the hallway to get to a wall-mounted dispenser.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told KVUE last week that the video “needs to be released” to show “exactly what happened”.
In a statement released Tuesday, Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the video should have been seen first by those hardest hit by the massacre.
“I am deeply disappointed that this video was released before all the families affected that day and the Uvalde community had a chance to watch it,” he said in a statement. statement on the department’s website†
Brett Cross, the father of Uziyah Garcia, 10, who died in the shooting, told NBC News’ Tom Llamas watching the video was “heartbreaking.”
“We relive this every day,” he says. “Now we’re going to hear it, not just relive it — it’s an ongoing thing.”
He added: “Nobody tells us anything. And it’s disrespectful, not just to us, but to our kids.”
in a editorial published on Tuesdaythe US statesman said it published the video “to continue to bring to light what happened at Robb Elementary, which the families and friends of Uvalde’s victims have long requested.”
During a hearing with lawmakers last month, McCraw described the response to the shooting as an “abject failure and contradicts everything we’ve learned in the two decades since the Columbine massacre.”
“The only thing stopping a corridor of dedicated officers from… [entering rooms] 111 and 112 was the commander on the ground who decided to put the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said.
The person state officials identified as the commander, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, told The Texas Tribune last month that he considered himself a front-line officer and not the one who managed the response.
“I have not given orders,” he told The Tribune. “I called for help and asked for an extraction tool to open the locked classroom door”.
Arredondo, who has been on leave from the school district since June 22, resigned on July 2 from the seat he won this year on Uvalde’s city council.