New CCTV footage from inside the Texas school where 21 people were murdered last month shows police standing in the hallway an hour before the sole gunman was apprehended.
The footage was taken on May 24, the same day 19 school students and two teachers were killed by Salvador Ramos at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
In the days following the shooting the local authorities were scrutinised over the time it took for Ramos to be apprehended and the timeline of events, which changed drastically over time.
In CCTV footage obtained by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, police officers are seen in the school's hallway at 11.52am.
The image of the police standing in the hallway, armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield was captured 19 minutes after Ramos entered the school at 11.33am.
After Ramos entered the school he barricaded himself inside a classroom and started spraying gunfire and wasn't apprehended until much later.
"Investigators believe this is significant because it indicates they had more than enough firepower and protection to enter the classroom before they did," investigative reporter for the Statesman and KVUE Tony Plohetski remarked on Twitter.
"Officers were growing impatient far sooner: 'If there’s kids in there we need to go in there,' one said on body camera video."
Investigators believe this is significant because it indicates they had more than enough firepower and protection to enter the classroom before they did. Officers were growing impatient far sooner: “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there,” one said on body camera video.
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) June 20, 2022
Authorities release updated timeline
The release of the image comes along with a new extensive timeline of events which will likely be presented in the Texas Senate hearing on Tuesday, KVUE-TV reported.
Just three minutes after Ramos entered the school, 11 officers were seen entering the the school, the outlets reported.
At 11.40am District Police Chief Pete Arredondo had called for more help and at 11.44am gunfire is heard on police footage.
The footage taken from the hallway at 11.52 shows the officers were beginning to grow impatient.
"If there's kids in there, we need to go in there," one officer says in the video according to KVUE and then more officers enter the school minutes later.
While the Statesman and KVUE reported there was information to suggest Arredondo tried to make contact with the shooter, a source confirmed to San Antonio Express News none of the officers checked to see if the classroom door was open.
Arredondo defended the delay in breaching the classroom door by saying officers were waiting for a janitor to open it with a key, ABC News reported.
By 12.46pm SWAT personnel arrived at the school and by 12.50pm police breached the classroom where Ramos massacred the students and teachers.
Authorities face scrutiny over delayed response
Delays in the law enforcement response have been the focus of the federal, state and local investigation of the massacre and its aftermath.
Questions about the law enforcement response began days after the massacre.
Colonel Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said on May 27 that Arredondo made “the wrong decision” when he chose not to storm the classroom for more than 70 minutes, even as trapped fourth graders inside two classrooms were desperately calling 911 for help.
In those 70 minutes, parents waited outside the school, screaming at authorities to do something, some were handcuffed.
On Monday, members of the public, including relatives of those killed in the attack spoke in front of the Uvalde school board.
They took turns criticising the police response and what they described as lax security measures at the school in general.
Among those who spoke was Lyliana Garcia, 16, the daughter of teacher Irma Garcia, who was killed protecting her students. Two days after the mass shooting, Lyliana's father, José Garcia, died of a heart attack.
Lyliana is one of four children and she said being an orphan at such a young age is "inconceivable".
“These are the consequences my family has to suffer due to the lack of due diligence. I would like to share a quote of one of my sister’s agonising cries," Lyliana told the board.
"She said, ‘My mom died protecting her students, but who was protecting my mom?’”
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