Uvalde Teacher Closed Door, but It Didn't Lock

Police initially said she hadn't closed the door
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2022 12:01 AM CDT
Updated Jun 1, 2022 5:05 AM CDT
Uvalde Teacher Closed Door, but It Didn't Lock
Flowers are piled around crosses with the names of the victims killed in last week's school shooting as people visit a memorial at Robb Elementary School to pay their respects, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Following the Uvalde mass school shooting, Texas state police initially said a Robb Elementary teacher had left an exterior door propped open and that's how the gunman entered the school. Now, they're significantly changing that story: The unnamed teacher did indeed prop a door open with a rock prior to the shooter crashing his truck on campus, to bring food from a car into a classroom, but when she realized what was going on, she kicked the rock out of the way on her way back into the school. The door, however, failed to lock for a still-unknown reason, and that's how the gunman was able to get in. Police announced the correction after the teacher's lawyer pushed back on their first story. The news comes as the school district's police chief stopped cooperating with the state Department of Public Safety, the Texas Tribune reports.

Authorities say the teacher went out to get the food, and when she saw the crash, she ran back inside to get her phone and call 911. Once back outside and already on the line with 911, she saw the shooter jump the fence holding a gun, so she kicked the rock out of the way and pulled the door closed as she ran back inside, telling the dispatcher what was going on. "She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked," her attorney says, and investigators are probing why it did not lock. They are also still attempting to interview Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who has been accused of making the incorrect decision to treat the shooting as a hostage situation and delay entering the classroom where the gunman was holed up. He has not responded to requests for two days.

As the AP reports, "law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present an accurate timeline and details of the event and how police responded, sometimes providing conflicting information or withdrawing some statements hours later." The Washington Post puts it similarly, saying authorities "have included a series of statements, details and narratives that officials later amended, revised or withdrew entirely." The Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT) isn't pleased with that, denouncing the "false and misleading information" that has come "from the very highest levels of government and law enforcement" and calling on member officers to cooperate with the investigation. CNN has a piece rounding up the "shifting timeline" and police response; among other things, it notes that no school resource officer confronted the shooter as he entered the school—in fact, the SRO drove right by him as he started shooting at the school. (More Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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