Uvalde police release body camera footage showing controversial response to school shooting

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Body camera footage of a Uvalde police officer responding to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas has been released, showing the officers gathering outside the school despite gunfire from inside the building.

The newly released footage begins with at least two officers walking outside the school, one warning the other that the shooter “could be” inside the school.

“Shots, shots,” the officer can be heard shouting as he is seen running through a school entrance. “Shots fired from inside the building,” he echoed in the footage.

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.
(Uvalde Police Department)

As the officer runs, a dispatch can be heard saying that a female victim has been found with a bullet to the head. It was not immediately clear who the dispatch was referring to, but the shooter’s grandmother, Celia Gonzales, 66, was shot in the face at her home before the school shooting.

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She survived and was later released from the hospital. His house was less than a mile from the school.

“Shots were fired from the building, Uvalde,” the officer carrying the camera radioed to send as he entered the school, the video showed.

“What building?” the dispatch can be heard asking, but the answer went unanswered.

Moments later, the officer approaches at least three other officers when additional gunfire can be heard.

“Take cover guys,” the officer can be heard saying as the video shows several officers with ready weapons.

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.
(Uvalde Police Department)

Officers spilled out into the hallway after half a dozen shots were heard.

“Are you okay? Are you touched?” an officer can be heard shouting before the officer wearing the body camera exits through the door he just entered.

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Footage then shows a long rescue attempt by officers outside the school approaching the classroom windows, smashing them and getting the children to safety.

“It’s okay guys, we’ve contained it,” the officer carrying the camera can be heard saying. “He’s in the building on the west side of the property,” he added. “I have a male subject with an AR,” he said on his radio as he and another officer remained outside, but near the school.

The officer radios for backup, including a request for a helicopter over the school, ballistic shields, and flash shots.

“The male subject is at school,” the officer said. “We have several officers inside the school and we believe that there [the suspect] is barricaded in one of the offices but he is still shooting.”

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.
(Uvalde Police Department)

At least twenty minutes pass, and then officers approach a classroom window and begin pulling several children out of the building, the video showed.

After clearing the first room, officers approach the next window and wait several minutes to ensure the shooter is clear of the classroom.

“We gotta get these kids out of here. They’re scared, man,” officers said outside the school. “I know, I know,” replied another officer.

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.
(Uvalde Police Department)

The agents then begin to help the children, many of whom thank the agents. The teacher was the last person helped in the room.

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In the video, officers repeatedly expressed confusion over the whereabouts of the shooter and whether the students were inside any classrooms.

“We don’t know,” an officer said in the video. “They won’t come to the window. They have to be forced out but there have to be children everywhere.”

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.

Uvalde police officers and other law enforcement officers are seen responding to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in body video recorded May 24, 2022.
(Uvalde Police Department)

“Where is he?” an officer asked as they approached another window. “He’s on the other side. He’s contained but he can still shoot through,” another replied.

Footage showed officers smashing the window with a baton as an officer pointed a gun inside. They found children inside, informed them that they belonged to the police and ordered them to open the window further.

“Open the window,” the officers shout repeatedly. “Hurry up sweetie,” said another as a girl was heard crying.

More than a dozen officers can be seen in footage standing outside the building.

After nearly 30 minutes, the officer carrying the camera returns inside the school.

The officer walked through the classroom, checking for any survivors, as a police radio officer can be heard saying they had shields in place. Several other officers are seen streaming into the school, with shields and rifles, from different departments.

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After finding other students in one of the classrooms, the officers struggle to open the door. First they used a knife to try to pry open the lock, then a second knife, but to no avail.

After another officer suggested drilling through the glass, the officer said that was impossible and that they would need a bolt tool.

Officers discuss other possible options before calling the shooter.

“Sir, if you can hear me, please put your gun down. We don’t want anyone else getting hurt,” the officer can be heard shouting. Another officer suggests repeating the command in Spanish, and the officer complies, again shouting the message in Spanish.

UVALDE SCHOOL PULLING RELEASE OF HALLWAY VIDEO BLOCKED BY DA, TEXAS SAYS

Several minutes pass, and then another group of officers are heard in the hallway breaking into a room and rescuing a teacher. “Are you down? Are you down?” the officers ask her, as she tells them the shooter is in the classroom. The teacher is not seen in the images.

Members of law enforcement flee from the scene of a suspected shooting near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States, May 24, 2022.

Members of law enforcement flee from the scene of a suspected shooting near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States, May 24, 2022.
(Reuters/Marco Bello)

Officers discussed getting a flashbang and other options to clear rooms adjacent to where they believed the shooter was barricaded.

An hour has passed since the officer first heard gunshots. The body camera footage then fades to black.

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Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw later said nearly 20 officers waited about 45 minutes to break into the classroom door which was eventually unlocked to confront the shooter.

The Robb Elementary School sign is covered in flowers and gifts on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, the site of a mass shooting in May that killed 19 students and two teachers.

The Robb Elementary School sign is covered in flowers and gifts on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, the site of a mass shooting in May that killed 19 students and two teachers.
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

In a 77-page report released by the Texas House of Representatives Investigative Committee into the Robb Elementary School shooting, investigators determined that 376 law enforcement officers were at the school at the time of the shooting. Law enforcement officers, including nearly 150 U.S. Border Patrol and 91 state police officers, waited outside the school for more than an hour as the shooter continued to fire his weapon, according to the report.

The Uvalde shooting that killed 19 children and two adults took place on May 24 and 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was arrested at the scene.

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