Since the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24th, RedState has reported extensively, both on the incident itself and on the ensuing investigation into law enforcement’s response to it.
Almost immediately following the shooting, questions were raised about the timing of the response: Why did over an hour pass between the shooter’s entering the school and his ultimately being taken down? Why did law enforcement seemingly respond as if this were a barricaded suspect situation, rather than an active shooter situation? Perhaps most haunting of all — were any children or teachers shot after the police arrived on the scene? Would any of those who were shot have survived had emergency personnel been able to get to them in minutes, rather than over an hour later?
Tony Plohetski at the Austin American-Statesman has remained on top of the story.
BREAKING: Multiple officers were inside Robb Elementary School with rifles and at least one ballistic shield at 11:52 am the day of the shooting, new video and other evidence shows. They didn’t enter the classroom for another 58 minutes. More soon via @statesman and @KVUE. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/0BcYgq2hcQ
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) June 20, 2022
Plohetski announced today that the Statesman had obtained video from inside the school, along with body camera footage, showing the law enforcement response to the shooter.
BREAKING: We have obtained a video recording captured from inside Robb Elementary, along with body camera footage from a responding officer, that shows how dozens of officers responded to the active shooter. https://t.co/Vq4RL3FvES
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) July 12, 2022
The accompanying article sets forth a detailed chronology of the events, along with both an edited version of the video and the full version.
(Author’s note: I watched the four-minute video. It’s disturbing and heartwrenching. I don’t intend to watch the full hour-and-twenty-two minute video, but, as noted, both are available in the article.)
The gunman walks into Robb Elementary School unimpeded, moments after spraying bullets from his semi-automatic rifle outside the building and after desperate calls to 911 from inside and outside the Uvalde school.
He slows down to peek around a corner in the hallway and flips back his hair before proceeding toward classrooms 111 and 112.
Seconds later, a boy with neatly combed hair and glasses exits the bathroom to head back to his class. As he begins to turn the corner, he notices the gunman standing by the classroom door and then firing his first barrage.
The boy turns and runs back into the bathroom.
The gunman enters one of the classrooms. Children scream. The gunfire continues, stops, then starts again. Stops, then starts again. And again. And again.
It is almost three minutes before three officers arrive in the same hallway and rush toward the classrooms, crouching down. Then, a burst of gunfire. One officer grabs the back of his head. They quickly retreat to the end of the hallway, just below a school surveillance camera.
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.
Perhaps anticipating criticism of the decision to publish the disturbing video, the Statesman’s editor, Manny Garcia, penned a column titled: Why the Austin-American Statesman Chose to Publish Video From Inside Robb Elementary. In it, Garcia explains:
The video that we obtained is one hour and 22 minutes long. It is tragic to listen to and watch. Our decision to publish, along with our news partner, KVUE, comes after long and thoughtful discussions.
The Statesman is publishing two versions of the video, one that we edited to just over four minutes and highlights critical moments: the ease of gunman entering the school, how he shot his way into the classroom, the repeated sound of gunfire, and then the delay by police to stop the killer for 77 minutes as dozens of heavily armed officers stage in the school hallway before a group finally storm the classroom and kill the gunman.
The after-action report — officially titled: “Robb Elementary School Attack Response Assessment and Recommendations” — is 26 pages long. It consists of an Introduction, Detailed Timeline, Physical Assessment, Tactical Assessment, and a Supplement of Breaching Assessment and Opportunities.
From Page 15 of the report:
ALERRT teaches that first responders’ main priority in an active shooter situation is to first Stop the Killing and then Stop the Dying (ALERRT & FBI, 2020, pp. 2-9, 2-15 to 2-16). Inherent in both stopping the killing and dying is the priority of life scale (ALERRT & FBI, 2020, pp. 2-6 & 2-34). At the top of this scale, the first priority is to preserve the lives of victims/potential victims. Second, is the safety of the officers, and last is the suspect. This ordering means that we expect officers to assume risk to save innocent lives. Responding to an active shooter is a dangerous task (Blair & Duron, 2022). There is a chance that officers will be shot, injured, or even killed while responding. This is something that every officer should be acutely aware of when they become a law enforcement officer.
And Page 16:
It is not surprising that officers who had never been shot at before would be overwhelmed by the directed gunfire. This is especially the case if they had not been consistently training to deal with this type of threat. However, even after retreating, the officers were still presented with a clear driving force. The suspect was actively firing his weapon when the officers entered the building, and a reasonable officer would assume that there were injured people in the classrooms. The officers also knew the suspect was still alive and preventing them from accessing the wounded in the classrooms. These injured people are a driving force (ALERRT & FBI, 2020, p. 2-17) Once the officers retreated, they should have quickly made a plan to stop the attacker and gain access to the wounded. There were several possible plans that could have been implemented.
The full report is linked below.
By the Statesman:
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw has said that the person he identified as the incident commander, school district Police Chief Pete Arredondo, treated the situation as a barricaded subject, which calls for a slower, methodical response, not an active shooter situation, in which police are charged with doing anything possible to stop a gunman, including putting their own lives on the line. That was a mistake, McCraw has said. Officers should have confronted the gunman as soon as they arrived, carrying enough firepower to breach the classroom and stop the shooting, McCraw has said.
McCraw has singled out Arredondo for blame in restraining officers from going in earlier than they did. But the video shows multiple responding agencies on the scene, including officers from the Uvalde Police Department, Uvalde County sheriff’s department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, US
As Garcia notes in his editorial:
We know now — thanks to the many news organizations that continue to dig for the facts — that some students quietly called 911 from inside the classroom for help, a critically wounded teacher could hear officers just outside the classroom, and that 911 dispatchers were fielding the calls of despair.
We also know that exasperated parents, family members and bystanders standing outside the school begged authorities to do something.
I’ve never served in law enforcement and won’t pretend to know what it’s like to encounter this sort of bedlam. I have great empathy not only for the victims and their loved ones, but also for first responders dealing with the aftermath of such a tragic event. However, it’s impossible to watch the video and read the reporting and escape the conclusion that something went terribly wrong here — in addition to the deranged gunman electing to vent his rage on dozens of innocents.
Official After Action Report Uvalde by Susie Moore on Scribd