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Uvalde shooting surveillance video released by Texas media outlets

 A vigil for the victims if the Uvalde school shooting outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Friday, May 27
Bri Kirkham
Texas Public Radio
A vigil for the victims if the Uvalde school shooting outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 27.

Surveillance footage from the May 24 shooting in Uvalde has been published by Texas media outlets ahead of the video’s scheduled release Sunday.

The Austin American-Statesman and its television partner KVUE initially published edited and shortened clips of the video that includes scenes from outside Robb Elementary School, hallway footage showing the moment the 18-year-old gunman entered the school, and parts of the police response.

But the outlets later published the video in its entirety.

“Both media outlets have elected to release that footage Tuesday to provide transparency to the community, showing what happened as officials waited to enter that classroom,” the KVUE story notes on itswebsite.

Two teachers and 19 students were killed during the shooting. Seventeen people were injured in what has become Texas’ deadliest school shooting, and the second deadliest in the U.S. after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

 A still from the video published by the Austin American-Statesman, which was obtained by the paper and KVUE.
Briana Sanchez and Nate Chute
Austin American-Statesman
A still from the video published by the Austin American-Statesman, which was obtained by the paper and KVUE.

The video shows the gunman entering the elementary school wearing what looks like all-black clothing, carrying a backpack, and holding a semi-automatic rifle.

Shortly after making his way in, the gunman turned right in one of the hallways, and started shooting in at least one classroom.

The footage shows a student walking towards the same hallway seconds before the initial rounds were shot.

The child, whose identity and face were blurred out by the media outlets, can be seen stopping for a few seconds before turning and running away.

Minutes after the gunman entered the school, at least seven police officers entered the school. The video shows some of them running toward the classrooms.

However, officers ran back towards the entrance after the gunman fired his weapon.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, officers inside Robb Elementary waited more than an hour after the shooting began to enter the classroom. That can be seen in the video, despite the gunman firing additional shots over that time period.

While waiting, police officers can be seen walking in the hallway, some talking on their phones. They were heavily armed and many were wearing body armor.

DPS said the commander on scene, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, was responsible for preventing officers from breaching the classroom.

Arredondo claimed he believed the door to the classroom was locked, but DPS said that based on evidence it reviewed, the door was never locked, and no officer in the hallway even tried to open the door.

DPS Director Steven McCraw has called the police response “an abject failure.”

Earlier Tuesday, State Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, said the entire footage will be released Sunday to family members and then to the public. Burrows chairs the Texas House committee investigating the shooting.

But after the publication of portions of the video, Burrows said in a tweet that “while I am glad that a small portion is now available for the public, I do believe watching the entire segment of law enforcement’s response, or lack thereof, is also important.”

His decision is in clear defiance to the instructions given by Uvalde District Attorney Christina Busbee to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Busbee had objected to the agency releasing the footage.

McCraw said he was disappointed the video was released earlier than the committee had planned.

“I am deeply disappointed this video was released before all of the families who were impacted that day and the community of Uvalde had the opportunity to view it as part of Chairman Dustin Burrows’ plan,” McCraw said in a statement. “Those most affected should have been among the first to see it. As I stated during my testimony before the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans, this video provides horrifying evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary on May 24 was an abject failure. In law enforcement, when one officer fails, we all fail.”

Since the shooting, the families of the victims have been begging local and state officials for transparency.

To date, no official police report has been made public.

Copyright 2022 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Updated: July 12, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
This post has been updated to reflect that the Statesman and KVUE later published the video in its entirety.
Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is the former Texas Capitol reporter for The Texas Newsroom.
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