It Took Police 40 Minutes to Move in as Classroom Full of Kids Was Massacred

'They were unprepared,' says father of one victim
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2022 12:06 AM CDT
Updated May 26, 2022 6:54 AM CDT
It Took Police 40 Minutes to Enter Classroom Where Kids Were Massacred
Investigators search for evidences outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – After the shooter barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, it was 40 minutes or more before officers entered the room and the gunman was killed by a Border Patrol team. Also dead by that point were 19 children and two teachers. Witnesses tell the AP they yelled at officers to move in as they stood outside the school, and some of them even discussed going in themselves, but nothing happened. "They were unprepared," says the father of a little girl who was killed. One man who watched the entire scene unfold, from the time the gunman crashed his truck outside the school to the time he entered with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, says women on the scene were shouting at police, "Go in there! Go in there!" The man adds: "There were more of them. There was just one of him." More:

  • Timeline: The Los Angeles Times has put together a timeline of the tragedy; according to its accounting, the shooter crashed at 11:30am and possibly exchanged gunfire with a school resource officer (reports differ on that point), then made his way inside the school until he found the classroom where he eventually barricaded himself by locking the door. Along the way, he wounded two responding police officers as well (it's also not clear whether they shot at him). It's not clear exactly when he made it inside the classroom, but it was at 11:43am that the school announced a lockdown, 12:17pm when the district announced the active shooting situation on social media, and 1:06pm when the police department reported the shooter was "in police custody." It's not clear when or how quickly the victims were killed.
  • An hour? A report at the New York Times confirms it was just after 1pm that the shooter was killed, and cites the Texas Department of Public Safety director as saying the gunman was inside the school for roughly an hour before he was shot. The director later estimated "40 minutes or so," but would not give a complete timeline; at another point he said the gunman was killed "within, like, 40 minutes, [within] an hour." The take of the director, and other officials, is that the officers successfully contained the shooter inside one of the school's internally connected or adjoining classrooms until a more specially trained tactical team arrived on the scene and breached the room. One held up a shield, the others came behind him, and three fired on the shooter as soon as they entered.
  • Statement: "The bottom line is law enforcement was there," the aforementioned director says. “They did engage immediately. They did contain (the shooter) in the classroom. ... They did contain him in a classroom, and they put the tactical stack together in a very orderly way, and of course breached and assaulted the individual."
  • "Agents didn't hesitate": According to the Guardian, the Border Patrol chief told CNN that once Border Patrol agents, including agents from its tactical unit, arrived on the scene, "They didn’t hesitate. They came up with a plan. They entered that classroom and they took care of the situation as quickly as they possibly could."
  • Key? A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation says Border Patrol agents struggled to breach the classroom door and needed a staff member to use a key to open it, though that detail has not been officially confirmed.
  • "The longest 35 minutes of my life": A teacher who spoke to NBC News described what it was like waiting with her students, hearing children wailing from the classroom down the hall in which the shooter had locked himself, until police broke their classroom windows so they could escape.
(Read more Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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