Body camera footage captured the moment the Uvalde school police chief repeatedly tried to negotiate with the 18-year-old gunman who opened fire into a classroom and killed 21 people.
Police Chief Peter Arredondo was on his phone in the hallway at Robb Elementary, begging shooter Salvador Ramos to stop his attack.
Arredondo told Ramos ‘this could be peaceful’ and asked him to ‘please put your firearm down’ as he continued to fire shots into the Texas classroom.
Angry parents and community members have called for Arredondo’s termination since the May 24 massacre, alleging he failed to protect the school community. He was placed on administrative leave last month.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin disclosed last month that an on-site negotiator had tried talking to Ramos while the attack was underway, however the gunmen never answered the phone.
Meanwhile, the Texas House investigative committee released a preliminary report Sunday revealing officials found ‘multiple systemic failures’ and poor leadership by law enforcement the day of the shooting.
Video shows how Police Chief Peter Arredondo (left) was on his phone in the hallway at Robb Elementary, begging shooter Salvador Ramos to stop his attack
Arredondo, met with no response continued: ‘Can you tell me your name, anything that can help please?’ But, Ramos did not answer
Arredondo told Ramos ‘this could be peaceful’ and asked him to ‘please pout your firearm down’ as he continued to fire shots into the classroom
The newly-released video showed that Arredondo tried to speak with Ramos several times from the school hallway.
During his initial attempt at communication, Arredondo seemed unaware that Ramos had barricaded himself in a classroom with students.
‘Let me know if there’s any kids in there or anything,’ Arredondo pleaded. ‘This could be peaceful.’
The officer, met with no response continued: ‘Can you tell me your name, anything that can help please?’ But, Ramos did not answer.
Minutes later a 911 dispatcher alerted police that a student had called, revealing children and teachers were trapped with the gunman.
Six minutes later Arredondo is seen trying to open the door to a nearby classroom with a set of keys, but fails to do so.
He passes the keys off to another officer who does make entry into the room. Additional officers, who are more heavily armored, arrive on scene but little action appears to be taken.
Then, another round of shots are fired, prompting Arredondo yet again to plead with the shooter.
‘Can you hear me sir?’ he asked. ‘Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don’t want anybody else hurt.’
Someone is heard saying ‘I know, I know’ and another officer says: ‘That’s what we’re doing, we’re trying to get him out.’
It was still at least another 30 minutes before police entered the classroom where Ramos had barricaded himself and killed him.
Arredondo is seen trying to open the door to a nearby classroom with a set of keys, but fails to do so. He passes the keys off to another officer who does make entry into the room
Minutes later, another round of shots are fired, prompting Arredondo yet again to plead with the shooter: ‘Can you hear me sir? Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don’t want anybody else hurt’
It was still at least another 30 minutes before police entered the classroom where Ramos had barricaded himself and killed him
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin released body camera footage from the mass shooting on Sunday, days after an 82 minute video of the shooting was posted online by the Austin American Statesman and KVUE.
The video documents the apparent confusion Uvalde cops faced on May 24 when Ramos entered a classroom inside Robb Elementary School and began firing – killing 19 students and two teachers inside.
Officers were told that day by Arredondo that the situation had changed from an active shooter situation to one of a barricaded suspect – forcing them to act with more caution even as Ramos continued to fire.
The footage begins with Officer Gazaway standing outside the building at around 12.04pm and slowly entering the building, where several other officers are waiting with their rifles drawn.
Some officers were still waiting outside at the time, chatting by the entrance to the school, while others were chatting in the hallway at the school.
Newly released body camera footage shows the apparent confusion Uvalde cops at the scene of the Robb Elementary School shooting on May 24 were facing
Some cops could be seen chatting outside as others waited inside the hallway with their guns pointed down the hallway
Throughout the video, Officer Gazaway paces back and forth – apparently looking for someone to give him instructions as gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, continues to shoot
At around 12.08pm, the footage goes dark, only to return moments later to show more cops standing inside the hallway, apparently waiting for orders about what to do.
For the next several minutes, Gazaway seems to pace up and down the hall apparently looking for someone to give him direction, as sergeants can be seen pointing and talking to some of the officers.
There is no sound in the footage, so it is unclear what they were saying.
By around 12.19pm more officers seemed to be gathered in the hallway after some abandoned their post outside.
One man in a blue checkered shirt was even wearing a ballistic vest identifying him as ‘Sheriff.’
Meanwhile, a man with a ‘Texas Ranger’ vest continued to bark orders at the officers, but soon he leaves the building talking on his phone.
Finally at around 12.21pm a swarm of officers could be seen running down the hallway, apparently toward classrooms 111 and 112, where Ramos was firing.
The video ends with Border Patrol agents finally entering the classrooms, where they would fatally shoot Ramos.
Community members and state police officials alike have sharply criticized the leadership of Pete Arredondo. Michael Brown, an Uvalde community member who has a child that was enrolled at Robb Elementary, is seen holding signs calling for police accountability on Sunday
The new body camera footage comes amid the release of a 77-page report by the Texas House of Representatives which holds state and federal cops largely responsible for the Uvalde massacre. Vincent Salazar, grandfather of Layla Salazar who was killed in the shooting, is seen holding the report on Sunday
The footage comes amid the release of a 77-page report by the Texas House of Representatives which holds state and federal cops largely responsible for the Uvalde school massacre.
The House probe marked the most exhaustive attempt so far to determine why it took more than an hour for police and other officers to confront and kill Ramos.
The report blasted ‘system failures and egregious poor decision making’ by nearly all those in power during the attack, noting how 376 law enforcement officers rushed to the school in a chaotic scene marked by a lack of clear leadership and sufficient urgency.
‘Other than the attacker, the Committee did not find any “villains” in the course of its investigation,’ the report stated. ‘Instead, we found systemic failures and egregious poor decision making.’
‘The void of leadership could have contributed to the loss of life as injured victims waited over an hour for help, and the attacker continued to sporadically fire his weapon.’
It also claimed the 149 US Border Patrol agents and 91 state police on the scene should have helped with the ‘unfolding chaos.’
‘There was an overall lackadaisical approach by law enforcement at the scene,’ the report read. ‘For many, that was because they were given and relied upon inaccurate information. For others, they had enough information to know better.’
The bottom line, the report found, is that ‘law enforcement responders failed to adhere to their active shooter training, and they failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.’
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said in an emailed statement that the city had placed Lieutenant Mariano Pargas, who was the acting city policy chief on the day of the shooting, on administrative leave.
Tina Quintanilla-Taylor raises her and and voice as she tries to ask a question of the Texas House investigative committee at a news conference after they released its full report on the shootings at Robb Elementary School on Sunday
State police officials have sharply criticized the leadership of Arredondo, the police chief of the school district’s six-man police force, who state police have said was in control of the scene.
But the report noted that hundreds of officers from agencies that were better trained and better equipped than the school police force badly failed, too.
‘Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach (Arredondo) or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance,’ the report stated.
‘These local officials were not the only ones expected to supply the leadership needed during this tragedy.’
‘Hundreds of responders from numerous law enforcement agencies – many of whom were better trained and better equipped than the school district police – quickly arrived on the scene.’
Salvador Ramos, 18, (pictured) shot and killed 19 students and two teachers while cops held back for over an hour during the Uvalde massacre on May 24
‘In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post,’ the report said.
‘Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde CISD chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance.’
The report also found that the Robb Elementary School failed to adhere to a number of basic safety protocols, which included a lack of keys leading to teachers regularly leaving doors unlocked or propping them open.
Door and lock maintenance did not receive adequate attention from the school district, the report noted, pointing out that though the lock in one of the rooms where the shooting took place was known to be unreliable, it was not repaired.
‘In particular the locking mechanism to Room 111 was widely known to be faulty, yet it was not repaired,’ the report said.
‘The problem with locking the door had been reported to school administration, yet no one placed a written work order for a repair.’
Unreliable Wi-Fi in parts of the school also led to a poor use of an app intended to notify the school of a lockdown in the event of an emergency.
Teachers also often responded without urgency to lockdown notifications on the app because they were desensitized by its overuse in situations involving nearby border patrol activity.
Robb Elementary is located about one hour from the US-Mexico border, and teachers would often be notified about illegal migrants who were being pursued by border patrol in the area.
There were 47 ‘lockdown’ events at the school between May and February, 90 percent of which concerned border patrol activity.
The Active Shooter Response Card officers are supposed to follow. The investigation committee found that many of the basic steps outlined in it, such as assuming a position of command, were not completed by officers at the scene of the shooting
The emergency report app used by the Uvalde school district. The report found that its overuse from frequent nearby border patrol issues led to teachers not taking the app and its protocols seriously
Additionally, the report revealed that Ramos provided a number of warning signs that he was dangerous, but that nobody did anything to address them.
In one incident, Ramos sent someone a message on Instagram on April 2 saying ‘Are you still gonna remember me in 50 something days?’
‘Probably not’ the person responded.
‘Hmm alright we’ll see in may,’ Ramos said back.
He was also obsessed with gore and violent sex online, posting videos of suicides and beheadings, and harassing women who he played video games with.
He was also fired from his job at a Whataburger after threatening a female coworker.
Despite his violent behavior, no red flags were raised about Ramos and he was never reported to authorities.
An April text conversation between Salvador Ramos and a friend who proposed traveling to Uvalde for a visit later in the summer. ‘If it’s before may 23rd I’m down,’ Ramos wrote. He committed the massacre on May 24
A conversation Ramos had with an online friend based in Germany in which he described shooting his grandmother in the face in real time
The report is the result of one of several investigations into the shooting, including another led by the Justice Department.
A report earlier this month by tactical experts at Texas State University alleged that a Uvalde police officer had a chance to stop the gunman before he went inside the school armed with an AR-15.
But in an example of the conflicting statements and disputed accounts since the shooting, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin has said that never happened. That report had been done at the request of the Texas Department of Public Safety, which McLaughlin has increasingly criticized and accused of trying to minimize the role of its troopers during the massacre.
Steve McCraw, the head of Texas DPS, has called the police response an abject failure.
The video showed in harrowing detail how police lingered in the hallway outside the classroom where Ramos was holed up for over an hour as they were ordered to stand down by Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Peter Arredondo.
Arredondo was placed on leave after the shooting before resigning from his post.
Meanwhile, calls for police accountability have grown in Uvalde since the shooting. So far, Arredondo is the only officer from the scene of the deadliest school shooting in Texas history is known to be on leave.
While Ramos could be heard unloading shots in a classroom, officers could be seen running away from the gunfire, checking their phones, helping themselves to hand sanitizer, and exchanging high fives.
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo
At one point an officer whose daughter was inside the classroom was seen being restrained by fellow officers preventing him from attempting to rescue his daughter.
The video shows how it took officers a full 77-minutes to breach the door to the classrooms where Ramos unloaded more than 100 rounds into his victims.
Ramos entered the school at 11:33am, and wasn’t shot dead until 12:50pm.
The gunman wasn’t stopped until Border Patrol agents entered the building and shot and killed him.
The video begins at 11:28 am from the point of view of a camera in the Robb Elementary School parking lot.
It shows Ramos violently swerving his car around a corner and crashing into a ditch in the distance. A plume of dusty smoke emerges from the scene of the crash.
Two unknown men approach the car, Ramos responds by firing shots at the them.
The two men run for their lives, across the road and toward Robb Elementary School.
Two minutes later, a teacher is heard telling a 911 operator: ‘I do not see him. I cannot see him.’ The camera switches to a camera pointing at Robb Elementary School. She says: ‘The kids are running. Oh my God.’
Her voice breaks in desperation as she cries: ‘Oh my God.’
A minute-by-minute break down of how cops waited outside class while kids called 911 after gunman walked through door that had been propped open by a teacher
11.28am: Gunman crashes truck, gets out of car with AR-15. He is seen by witnesses in a funeral home next to the school who tell 911 they see a man with a gun walking towards the school
11.31: Gunman is now in the parking lot of the school hiding in between vehicles, shooting at the building
11.32: School resource officer who arrives in a patrol car after hearing 911 call about truck crash drives past the shooter
11.33: Gunman enters the school and begins shooting into room 111/room 112. He shoots more than 100 rounds
11.35: Three police officers enter the same propped-open door as the suspect from the Uvalde PD. They were later followed by another four, making total of seven officers on scene. Three initial officers went directly to the door and got grazing wounds from him while the door was closed. They hang back
11.37: Another 16 rounds fired inside the classroom by the gunman
11.51: Police sergeant and USB agents arrive
12.03: Officers continue to arrive in the hallway. As many as 19 officers in that hallway at that time. At the same time, a girl from inside the classroom calls 911 and whispers that she is in room 112
12.10pm: The same girl calls back and advises ‘there are multiple dead’
12.13pm: The same girl calls again
12.16pm: The same girl calls 911 for the fourth time in 13 minutes asking for help
12.15pm: BORTAC (SWAT) members arrive with shields
12.16pm: The same unidentified girl calls 911 and says there are ‘8-9 students alive’ in classroom 112
12.19pm: A different child from classroom 111 calls. She hangs up when another student tells her to in order to be quiet
12.21pm: Gunman fires again
12.26pm: One of the girls who previously called 911 calls back again. She says the shooter has just ‘shot at the door’
12.43pm: The girl on that girl is still on the line. She says ‘please send the police now’
12.50pm: Police finally breach the door using keys from the janitor and kill gunman
12.51pm Officers start moving children out of the room
Shortly after that, Ramos fires off random rounds at the school from the parking lot.
The teacher instructs the students to ‘get down, get in your rooms, get in your rooms.’
The camera switches again to footage captured by a witness who recorded Ramos calmly walking into the school, carrying an AR-15.
Within the same minute, the camera switches to surveillance video from inside the the hallways of Robb Elementary School.
The light beams from the doorway as Ramos enters an empty hallway.
Before getting to a corner, he stalls for a second as if to check if he’s going the right way.
As he begins to disappear down a wide hallway, he drops his gun by his side to brush back his long hair en route to classrooms 111 and 112 where the massacre unfolded.
From the foreground, a young boy comes into the shot. He turns a corner and stands frozen for a few seconds. Next, loud gunfire his heard.
The boy can be seen running away, with his arms apparently flailing.
A message appears on the screen saying: ‘The gunman fires his AR-15 inside two classrooms for two and a half minutes.’
Three minutes later, the first police officers arrive on the scene, three cops, two uniformed and one plain clothes charge towards the class room before crouching in the hallway as four others calmly stay back.
The four officers who stay back talk to each other. Their conversation is inaudible.
Three loud bangs are then heard.
After they hear gunfire, the two uniformed cops retreat slightly while the plain clothes officer scurries all the way to safety behind a wall, checking his clothes to see if he has been hit by the volley of rounds.
One could even be seen pulling his cellphone out of his pocket, apparently to check the time. Others, the Statesman reports, sent texts and looked at floor plans as precious minutes ticked by.
A full 19 minutes after the first officers attempted to engage Ramos, the first heavy reinforcements arrive as cops with long guns, tactical gear and a ballistic shield are shown in the hallway. They remain a safe distance from Ramos.
One officer leans the shield safely against a wall.
A little over half an hour after the 911 call went in, more officers, clad in combat gear, armed with long guns and ballistic shields, pile into the hallway. They do not attempt to engage Ramos.
Ramos then goes on to shoot off four more rounds, 48 minutes after first arriving at the school. There is little initial reaction from the assembled members of law enforcement. The phrase: ‘Shots fired’ is repeated.
There is more inaudible conversation as officers finally begin to march down the hallway toward Ramos.
One leading the way appears to be wearing civilian clothing, including shorts and a bullet proof vest. He is armed with a rifle.
The more heavily armored officers hide behind him.
An officer in civilian clothing and bullet proof vest and helmet obtains hand sanitizer from a dispenser.
After more than half an hour, other officers could be seen entering the building with ballistic shields and rifles pointed down the hallway to the classrooms where Ramos is hiding out.
Finally, officers breach the classroom and engage Ramos, quickly killing him. A full 77 minutes after the nightmare began.
Uvalde school police chief ‘repeatedly tries to negotiate with gunman even as he continues to fire’ Source link Uvalde school police chief ‘repeatedly tries to negotiate with gunman even as he continues to fire’