Fully armed Uvalde police didn’t even approach the classroom door for an hour

Give credit where it’s due: local Texas newspapers and media outlets have been doing an incredible job getting to the truth of what happened in Uvalde, at Robb Elementary last month. National and international journalists have been on the ground, but the staff at Texas Tribune, Austin American-Statesman, The San Antonio Express-News, Dallas Morning News and more have all been doing groundbreaking local and state reporting. So it is this week, when the Texas Tribune, Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV broke this story simultaneously. The story? Uvalde police had a Halligan bar, ballistic shields and plenty of firepower when they entered Robb Elementary 20 minutes after children and teachers began to be slaughtered. The cops had all of that equipment… and they didn’t do anything with it for nearly an hour. They didn’t even approach the doors to the classrooms, according to reporting from The San Antonio Express-News. The cops stood inside the building, waiting as even more shots were fired and even more children were murdered.

The officers in the hallway of Robb Elementary wanted to get inside classrooms 111 and 112 — immediately. One officer’s daughter was inside. Another officer had gotten a call from his wife, a teacher, who told him she was bleeding to death. Two closed doors and a wall stood between them and an 18-year-old with an AR-15 who had opened fire on children and teachers inside the connected classrooms. A Halligan bar — an ax-like forcible-entry tool used by firefighters to get through locked doors — was available. Ballistic shields were arriving on the scene. So was plenty of firepower, including at least two rifles.

During most of those 77 minutes, despite the urgent pleas from officers and parents amassed outside, officers stayed put outside rooms 111 and 112, stationed on either end of a wide hallway with sky blue and green walls and bulletin boards displaying children’s artwork. Ramos fired at least four sets of rounds — including the initial spray of fire that likely killed many of his victims instantaneously.

Revelations have trickled out in the press: The New York Times has described officers’ doubts about the decision to wait; breakdowns in communications and tactics; and the fact that officers held off from the confrontation even though they knew people were injured, and possibly dying, inside. The San Antonio Express-News reported that there is no evidence that officers tried the doors on rooms 111 and 112 — contradicting a key assertion by the Uvalde schools police chief, Pete Arredondo, who told The Texas Tribune that officers tried the doors, found them locked and had to wait for a master key to unlock them. On Monday evening, the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV revealed that the officers, in effect, had more than enough firepower, equipment and motivation to breach the classrooms.

No security footage from inside the school showed police officers attempting to open the doors to classrooms 111 and 112, which were connected by an adjoining door. Arredondo told the Tribune that he tried to open one door and another group of officers tried to open another, but that the door was reinforced and impenetrable. Those attempts were not caught in the footage reviewed by the Tribune. Some law enforcement officials are skeptical that the doors were ever locked.

Within the first minutes of the law enforcement response, an officer said the Halligan (a firefighting tool that is also sometimes spelled hooligan) was on site. It wasn’t brought into the school until an hour after the first officers entered the building. Authorities didn’t use it and instead waited for keys.

Officers had access to four ballistic shields inside the school during the standoff with the gunman, according to a law enforcement transcript. The first arrived 58 minutes before officers stormed the classrooms. The last arrived 30 minutes before.

Multiple Department of Public Safety officers — up to eight, at one point — entered the building at various times while the shooter was holed up. Many quickly left to pursue other duties, including evacuating children, after seeing the number of officers already there. At least one of the officers expressed confusion and frustration about why the officers weren’t breaching the classroom, but was told that no order to do so had been given.

[From Texas Tribune]

It was clear from the very start of this tragedy that Uvalde police completely f–ked up. We knew that on the day, when no one could get a straight answer about what was done or what, exactly, had happened in the school. Parents were outside the school and cops were harassing them, tasering them and handcuffing them. And now this – Uvalde police with all of their fancy, expensive, taxpayer-bought equipment just stood outside the classrooms doing absolutely nothing as they listened to children being murdered.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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30 Responses to “Fully armed Uvalde police didn’t even approach the classroom door for an hour”

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  1. Miranda says:

    Fucking cowards. I hope the scene that they encountered when they finally did enter the school, the vision of those poor destroyed babies and their brave teachers, haunts them until their dying days. They should never be allowed a moment’s peace for as long as they live.

  2. girl_ninja says:

    I still can’t believe that they stood around and did nothing. Instead they arrested and victimized the parents who were begging for the lives of their children. This must end in the termination of that entire police force and that trash governor being impeached.

    • Nlopez says:

      I agree! This is even more heartbreaking the more we learn. I don’t understand how you can listen to children and teachers being slaughtered and do nothing!! They had shield and guns, and were right outside the classrooms. Nothing can justify their inaction! I have no words…

  3. Hyperbolme says:

    This is the most horrific thing. They are absolutely evil the way they have handled this whole thing.

    Just waiting for it to come out that they are responsible for at least one child or teacher’s death. Nobody would have thought that until they started saying unprompted that they didn’t kill any children. They also claimed that the shooter had a pistol on him when there’s no evidence that he had anything other than the rifle. Odds on the autopsies will reveal someone killed by a police pistol.

    • Colby says:

      I keep seeing this theory, but best I can tell, they didn’t even have an opportunity to kill a kid because they didn’t do anything.

  4. Swack says:

    SMDH. Are they all ingrained so much that NO one took charge. I don’t care if I had lost my job, with all they had I would have tried to get in. I’m betting no door was locked and they are trying to cover that up also. I hope the victims families sue the heck out of all of them that had some responsibility in this.

  5. Geegee says:

    But I thought the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. When an entire heavily armed police force can’t (will not) stop the bad guy with a gun maybe we can stop using that as an excuse to let the bad guys have the gun. No civilian should have weapons of war.

  6. Colby says:

    The reporters have asked for so much more information and have received *nothing* from the police/local government. Believe it will continue to get worse as they uncover more.

    Well done to the news agencies not letting up.

  7. Mama says:

    Trash. They are all trash. When people use the term “defund the police” this is in part what they mean… 40% of the budget but no response. They did nothing to save those children and teachers. Not one thing. They let them die – imagine if some of the kids could have been saved by a faster response even if they had been shot. We’ll never know now because they were cowards and failures.

  8. Scal says:

    And this is why they are trying to keep the 911 calls, body cam footage, etc from being released to the public. They claim it’s a security risk-but it’s 100% because all those brave men with guns stood around and did nothing.

    They 100% shot a kid. There were survivors from the classroom that talked about ‘bullets flying everywhere’ when cops finally entered. They didn’t even try the door.

    How have people not been fired yet?

  9. Noki says:

    No wonder so many unarmed people of colour are shot everyday, these police are Number 1. Cowards which results in Number 2. Being Trigger happy because they are probably paranoid and anxious all the time so what is the point of them!!???SMH

  10. AmyB says:

    Apparently, the Uvalde police department refuse to release any of the police body cam footage to journalists, or to the public!! You KNOW there is something horrible they are covering up!! Hell, we even saw the body cam footage in the George Floyd murder prior to Derek Chauvin’s trial, and the trial of the other three police officers! WHAT the hell is going on?!! They are always quick to release body cam footage when the police are doing their job properly – so it’s obvious this is a cover up! They couldn’t even keep their story straight in the beginning!

    I cannot imagine the hell the parents and loved ones of the victims (mostly ALL children) in this tragedy are going through!!! My heart breaks for them! Knowing these f**king cowards stood outside for over an hour, when they could have gone in, and saved these children/teachers!! I hope and pray there are criminal charges, when this is all said and done, and we finally know WTF happened!

    Also – blows the whole “good guy with a gun” argument OUT OF THE WATER!! Apparently, that is utter bullshit!

  11. Jessica says:

    Disappointed, but not surprised in the least. They were letting the gunman do what he came to do, kill brown babies. I would be raining down hellfire on the entire state of Texas if it were my child, how DARE they claim to be good guys, or protectors. They are nothing but useless tax parasites.

  12. SIlverPoodle says:

    So, apparently trained good guys with guns and shields were unwilling to confront the gunman. Is this why they want untrained teachers to do it? SMH…they are a bunch of cowards who should NOT be in law enforcement. Everyone of them should be ashamed.

  13. Imara219 says:

    I know people want to be sarcastic with the “trained good guys with guns…” but the phrasing rubs me the wrong way. Truly and really some police officers are not good guys. They are horrible people who’s “day job” is classified as cop. Dassit. Being a cop doesn’t automatically make you a good guy. Several officers and LEOs are equally appalled by this departments cowardice. A part of the sarcasm of using the phrase is leaning into the stereotype that cops are good.

  14. Msmlnp says:

    I’ve lived in Texas for 9 years now (due to my husbands job- I hate it here.)
    It is the most corrupt place I’ve ever lived. We will never get the truth of this. It will be massively covered up.
    I am grateful to the Texas tribune for working their butts off to cover this.

    • Lux says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that it’s really that bad. I lived in a high-crime city (so thankful we moved) and I have to say, it is SO corrupt also. We had friends who were police who admit that because of a severe force shortage, they are not there to save lives—they are the clean-up crew. They are not there to exchange fire and be heroes who prevent crime—they will show up after the fact to write reports. This appears consistent with what the Uvalde police were doing—waiting around until the shooting is over so they can “clean up and write reports.” As a mother, this makes my blood run cold.

  15. guilty pleasures says:

    I have been screaming this since the DAY OF THIS MASSACRE!! When the governor or some other talking head came on lauding the bravery of the police response I threw my sock at the TV (I was mad, not stupid) and SCREAMED, IT TOOK AN HOUR TO GO IN!!!.
    I am a retired police officer. Right after Columbine we ALL did active shooter drills, retrained them every year. We knew we were going the FUCK INTO THE SCHOOL!! I would take a bullet all day long in lieu of a child or unarmed adult.
    I echo all of the comments above, SHAME on these crapstorm sub-humans. Chicken shit motherfuckers.
    Know that I am not a rageaholic, I am actually a therapist now, but this, THIS brings out the beast in me, in all of us.
    I eagerly await the firing of all of them, and let the lawsuits against the department begin. May the courts rain HELLFIRE on all of them.
    Don’t even get me started on the assholes who won’t do anything about weapons of war in the hands of civilians.
    (I am Canadian btw, so this does not happen with American regularity, but it does happen, and we are READY!!!)

    • Trillion says:

      Thank you for speaking out as a former police officer. We need voices like yours to be heard because it takes the wind out of their stupid arguments even more d/t your background. Keep on saying it loud all over the place!

    • HoofRat says:

      I remember hearing an interview with a former cop who tried to excuse the unspeakable abysmal police “response” in Uvalde by saying the police involved may not have had adequate training to deal with an active shooter situation. WTF??? When babies in kindergarten train for these situations regularly, and mass shootings are a freaking way of life in the US, would any police force reasonably NOT have active shooter training? THERE IS NO EXCUSe for these ass-covering slimeballs standing around while little ones and their teachers were liquified by hollow-point bullets. I wish I believed in Hell, because I’d love to see them and their apologists burn eternally.

    • Lux says:

      Thank you, Guilty Pleasures, for your appropriate outrage. It’s heartening to hear that there are still so many officers who will uphold the law and sacrifice their lives. After this incident I read up on the response of Sandy Hook and discovered that yes, the police were right there right away and the shooting lasted less than 10 minutes. This is what is supposed to happen and reaffirms my faith that some in law enforcement will do their jobs with full conviction and courage.

  16. KBeth says:

    Utterly disgraceful.

  17. I have no words for how appalling this is. I don’t know how you could live with yourself after you stood around and did nothing while listening to children get slaughtered. I knew from day 1 when the story kept changing that the police were trying to cover up their incompetence.

    I have been following the reddit threads and information closely and every story of each of the 21 victims (and survivors) absolutely wrecks me.

    A whole community was destroyed that day. Also since this happened right after the devastating news of the shooting in Buffalo, it’s just so heartbreaking and sad that a person could be so evil to do something like this. I can’t even fathom how a person could actually walk into an elementary school, grocery store, movie theater, concert, ect and do this to innocent people.

  18. daisyfly says:

    It gets worse. Supposedly the doors weren’t locked to begin with — they lock from the outside.

    They could’ve gone on at any time. This “waiting for the keys” narrative started falling apart when you saw that they never tried to open the door. Now we’re finding out they never needed to test it in the first place.