Dozens of heavily armed police officers waited more than an hour to confront the Uvalde gunman who killed 21 people even though they were aware children were injured inside, The New York Times reports.
Investigation documents reviewed by the Times show that supervisors at the scene were told that children trapped inside a classroom with the gunman needed medical treatment. Instead, they waited for protective gear to lower the risk to officers.
The documents show that Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo and others became aware that children were injured after kids and teachers inside the class called 911.
A dozen survivors:
More than a dozen of the 33 children and three teachers in the two classrooms remained alive during the 77-minute delay.
By that time, 60 officers had assembled on the scene.
“People are going to ask why we’re taking so long,” a man who investigators believe to be Chief Arredondo could be heard saying, according to a transcript of officers’ body camera footage. “We’re trying to preserve the rest of the life.”
Investigators are working to determine if any of the deceased victims could have been saved if they got medical attention sooner.
One teacher died in an ambulance.
Three children died at nearby hospitals.
Chief delayed response:
Arredondo appears to have focused on evacuating kids from the rest of the school while the gunman was inside the classroom.
By 12:30, about an hour after the shooting began, Arredondo told officers “we’re ready to breach but the door is locked.”
“If there’s kids in there, we need to go in there,” an officer is heard saying.
The officers eventually got a key from the janitor.
By 12:50, a special Border Patrol team and a sheriff’s deputy entered the classroom and killed the gunman.