Surveillance footage shows Uvalde police never tried to enter the doors to the classrooms where the shooter was located, according to a new report.
On the day of the massacre, the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was able to enter Robb Elementary School through a door leading to classroom 111, despite the fact that the school’s exterior doors are designed to lock automatically. Ramos was then able to obtain access to classroom 112 through an interior door connecting the two rooms.
After arriving at the school at 11:33 a.m., however, Uvalde police officers never attempted to open the doors which would have led to the shooter’s location. Instead, Chief Pete Arredondo, head of the Uvalde school district police, ordered his officers to wait for keys from a school janitor.
When Arredondo obtained the keys — 40 minutes later — he began trying them on exterior doors in an attempt to find a master key. According to the new report, at no point did the police chief attempt to open the doors to classrooms 111 and 112. It remains unclear whether the door to classroom 111, the door used by the gunman to breach the school, was even locked at the time.
“Each time I tried a key I was just praying,” Arredondo later said. “The only thing that was important to me at this time was to save as many teachers and children as possible.”
He also insisted he and his officers’ priority was to act swiftly. “Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” he said.
Arredondo and the Uvalde school district police have faced intense public scrutiny since the May 24 shooting which saw 19 students and two teachers massacred.
On Friday, it was reported that two Uvalde police officers passed up an opportunity to shoot the gunman before he entered the building. One hesitated for fear that he might hit a child, while the other drove past the gunman after not seeing him in the parking lot.
Law enforcement’s response is currently being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety.