Report: Uvalde Police HAD Protective Shields, Weapons, Tools – Still Waited For Over an Hour

Daily News
12 Min Read

An analysis by the Texas Tribune reveals that police officers on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre had the protective equipment and firepower necessary to confront the killer, but waited over an hour for orders directing them to do so regardless.

The newspaper reviewed transcripts and footage of the law enforcement response and determined officers had ample resources to put forth an effort to stop the carnage – the lack of which was initially given as an excuse for their inaction.

“A Halligan bar — an ax-like forcible-entry tool used by firefighters to get through locked doors — was available. Ballistic shields were arriving on the scene. So was plenty of firepower, including at least two rifles,” the Tribune writes.

“Some officers were itching to move.”

Photos shared by the Tribune show plenty of firepower in the hands of officers who were in the school.

Breaking: Video and transcripts reviewed by The @TexasTribune of the law enforcement response to the Uvalde school shooting show police officers were equipped to confront the shooter with guns, shields and tools.

Then they didn’t — for more than an hour.

— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) June 21, 2022

RELATED: NYT Investigation: Over a Dozen Children Were Still Alive In Uvalde Classroom While Police Waited For ‘Protective Equipment’

Report: Uvalde Police Had the Protective Equipment

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The report contradicts previous claims that the police were waiting for ‘protective equipment’ before taking action and breaching the classroom where the shooter had barricaded himself and children were bleeding significantly from their wounds.

Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo, according to a New York Times story on June 9th, advised heavily armed officers on the scene to wait “for protective equipment to lower the risk to law enforcement officers.”

The Times writes that he was “agonizing over the length of time it was taking to secure the shields that would help protect officers when they entered and to find a key for the classroom doors.”

Both of those assertions have now been called into question.

2/ Records show a well-equipped group of officers entered the school almost immediately.

They pulled back once the shooter began firing inside the classroom.

They waited for more than an hour to reengage.

Inside, children and teachers lay bleeding.

— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) June 21, 2022

The latest information adds to an already infuriating situation.

Evidence reviewed by the Times revealed that “more than a dozen students remained alive for over an hour before officers entered their classrooms.”

“Heavily armed officers delayed confronting a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, for more than an hour even though supervisors at the scene had been told that some trapped with him in two elementary school classrooms needed medical treatment,” they reported.

Waiting for protective equipment may still have been an unacceptable response to the shooting, but it would have been a viable reason for some – and I stress some – initial hesitation.

Knowing they had the proper equipment and instead waited for orders to save the lives of elementary school-aged children is reprehensible.

By the time specialized border agents ignored orders to hold back and breached the classroom, 19 children and two teachers had been killed.

3/ Training for mass shootings instructs police to confront shooters as soon as possible — even at the risk of officers’ lives.

Soon after the shooter arrived, there were 11 officers inside the school.

At least two of them had rifles.

— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) June 21, 2022

RELATED: Hero Uvalde Mom Who Saved Her Children Says She Was Threatened Not To Speak To Media

The Tragic Police Response Gets Worse With Each Report

Transcripts provided by the Texas Tribune report make it even more confounding as to why officers continued to wait for guidance rather than reacting to the situation and trying to save lives.

One officer reportedly arrived on the scene twenty minutes after the shooting began and was stunned to learn nobody knew if there were any children still in the room with the active shooter.

The exchange is included below:

“If there is, then they just need to go in,” the agent said.

Another officer answered, “It is unknown at this time.”

The agent shot back, “Y’all don’t know if there’s kids in there?” He added, “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”

“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” came the reply.

The officer reportedly pivoted to trying to evacuate children in other classrooms.

5/ The documents we reviewed cast serious doubts on some of the information shared by Police Chief Arredondo in an interview with the Tribune earlier this month.

— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) June 21, 2022

The new documents and footage appear to indicate the tragically slow police response directly contributed to a higher death toll from the horrific shooting.

One victim, a young girl, died at the hospital after bleeding for an hour after she was shot. That shocking report led to MSNBC’s Katy Tur muttering “Jesus” as she heard the harrowing news.

Subsequent information indicates a teacher died in an ambulance while three children were also pronounced dead at local hospitals.

“Every parent who had a child in that room will wonder about that hour or so.” As Texas DPS gives information on the ongoing Robb Elementary shooting investigation, @KerryNBC talks to @KatyTurNBC about the blurry timeline of events and what key facts are still missing.

— Katy Tur Reports (@KatyOnMSNBC) May 26, 2022

The Texas Tribune report indicates there is no evidence that Arredondo or any other officer for that matter even tried to open the door to the classroom. The one they allegedly needed a key for.

“A debate over whether the locked classroom doors could be breached gave way to the discovery that they may never have been locked at all,” they reveal.

Arredondo told the Tribune earlier this month that he personally tried to open one door and found it to be locked.

“Arredondo checked to see if the door on the right, room 111, would open. Another officer tried room 112,” they wrote. “Both doors were locked.”

6/ No security footage from inside shows officers trying to open the doors of classrooms 111 and 112, where the shooting occurred.

The Uvalde schools police chief had told the Tribune he tried to open one door while other officers tried to open the other.

— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) June 21, 2022

In late May, The Political Insider reported on Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Lt. Chris Olivarez explaining to CNN that police officers responding to the shooting were held back because “they could have been shot.”

That risk remained no matter the precautions taken, but was more feasible when the early indicators said they had no protective equipment. Now, knowing they had shields and “plenty of firepower,” that excuse looks infinitely weaker.

Wolf Blitzer: “Don’t current best practices, call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?”

DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez: “They could’ve been shot.”

Save the cops, not the kids.🙄#DemVoice1 #BlueVoices #wtpBlue

— The Jewish Ginger Resister (@JewishResister) May 27, 2022

Terry Nichols, a former Seguin police chief and active-shooter expert, told the Texas Tribune the Uvalde police essentially failed in their response.

“They had the tools,” he said. “Tactically, there’s lots of different ways you could tackle this. … But it takes someone in charge, in front, making and executing decisions, and that simply did not happen.”

Even without protective equipment or weapons, the parents outside the school showed much greater resolve and determination to save the children inside the building. And the police put up a bigger fight against them than they did the shooter.

Videos posted online apparently showed police officers fighting with parents who were begging them to go in and stop the shooting.

One such video appears to show the scene with people yelling and screaming as police push them away from the perimeter. Some may have been pepper-sprayed and/or tackled to the ground.

This video make so much more sense now. The cops literally stopped parents from helping their kids.

— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) May 26, 2022

One hero mom, Angeli Rose Gomez, drove 40 miles from her job as a farm worker to reach the school after learning of the shooting, was handcuffed after complaining about the police response, managed to get released, then ran into the building to save her children.

It’s worth repeating. A mom drove there. Got handcuffed. Got out of handcuffs. Hopped a fence. Went inside the school and walked out with her two kids. All while 19 officers waited outside the classroom where the gunman was. #UvaldePolice #Uvalde

— Jessica McMaster (@JessMcMasterKC) May 27, 2022

Gomez didn’t wait for shields. She didn’t wait for firepower. And she didn’t wait for direction. She simply took action and saved those children.

The Uvalde police should have had the same courage.

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