Uvalde Police Officers Did Not Try to Open the Classroom Door to Counter the Shooter, Says Report

Uvalde Police Officers Did Not Try to Open the Classroom Door to Counter the Shooter, Says Report

On the contrary, police officers claim that they tried opening the door with several key combinations.

Trigger Warning: This story mentions gun violence that readers may find distressing.

Waiting outside Robb Elementary school classrooms where students and teachers were confined by a shooter, Uvalde police officers did not attempt to unlock the door to help them, new reports suggest.

According to a law enforcement source close to the investigation, security footage reveals that authorities did not try to enter the door leading to the classrooms once in 77 minutes, per San Antonio Express-News. The report is the most recent in a string of devastating findings regarding the police reaction to the mass killing. Survivors and lawmakers have characterized police response as cowardly and incompetent.



The city of Uvalde and its police department are collaborating with a private law company to keep practically all records pertaining to the mass shooting from being released, according to a letter obtained by Motherboard on requests of Vice News. The city and its police department, however, make it apparent that they want to be excused from providing a wide range of documents, in part because they are being sued, and in part, because some of the records might include "highly embarrassing information," according to the letter. 

It could also reveal, "methods, techniques, and strategies for preventing and predicting crime," and the Texas Rangers, the FBI, and the Uvalde County District Attorney are investigating its reaction to the incident.

During the rampage, as many as 19 officers waited in the corridor outside the connected classrooms. The gunman had locked the door, police claimed, and they were waiting for keys. While officials may have believed the door was locked as the doors are meant to shut automatically once closed, evidence suggests the doors might have been open the entire time, possibly due to a malfunction, according to the source. As per surveillance footage, the gunman was able to open the door and enter with an assault-style rifle.



The officers also had access to a weapon known as a "halligan," which could have crowbarred a locked door open. Pete Arredondo, Uvalde school district police chief, told the Texas Tribune that he had requested tactical gear, a sniper, and classroom keys. He stated he attempted "dozens" of different combinations when he first got the keys, but none of them worked. Arredondo told the outlet, "The only thing that was important to me at this time was to save as many teachers and children as possible."

However, the source says that Arredondo didn't use the keys in the classrooms where the students were locked, but rather in other classes in an unsuccessful search for a master key. While the students and instructors were stuck inside, some of them dialed 911 for assistance. Meanwhile, police officers were barring many of their children's parents from accessing the school, pleading with them to intervene.



The mass shooting resulted in the death of 19 children and three teachers. It also left a traumatic effect on the lives of the close-knit community of Uvalde. Since the incident, the official story from law enforcement has been altered multiple times. A school resource officer was supposed to engage the gunman outside the school, but that didn't happen.



The Texas Department of Public Safety also said incorrectly that a teacher pushed open a school entrance, allowing the gunman to enter. The investigation of police conduct during the shooting is still ongoing. 




Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Michael M. Santiago