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New video shows police in Uvalde waiting in hallway while gunman fires

A makeshift memorial honors people who were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., in May. (Eric Gay/AP)
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Newly available video obtained by the Austin American-Statesman shows a gunman walking into a Uvalde, Tex., elementary school undeterred on May 24, only to later fire at unseen targets as police milled about during the massacre in which 21 people would die.

The footage offered a dramatic view of what authorities had already confirmed: that more and more officers gathered in the school building’s hallways as time went on, but did not move en masse to take down the gunman. The new video shows one officer stopping to squirt sanitizer on his hand; at another time, two fist-bump one another.

In the video, which the newspaper published Tuesday afternoon, Salvador Ramos is shown crashing his truck near Robb Elementary School, dust billowing behind his vehicle. Two men approach the crash before running away. One trips, falls and roll over on the pavement.

Exclusive video edited by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE shows officers in a hallway after a gunman opened fired on a classroom in Uvalde, Tx., in May. (Video: UVALDE CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT VIA AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The next seconds shift to a panicked woman calling 911. She is not identified in the footage.

“The kids are running,” she screams before a caption says Ramos fired at the school from its parking lot. The terror rises in her voice as she yells at children to get into their classrooms.

Cellphone video then shows Ramos, 18, entering the school with his rifle, looking around before he exits the frame. As he turns the hall, a child peers around the corner and sees Ramos, who unleashes countless rounds off-camera. The frightened child runs back to where he came from, exiting the frame.

The American-Statesman reported that Ramos fired his weapon for 2½ minutes in two classrooms. Authorities have stated that Ramos fired more than 100 rounds.

About three minutes later, according to the video, police enter the school. Some are seen racing toward the gunman, and others look around the corner.

Officers point to one another, seemingly signaling to each other where to stand before more gunfire booms throughout the school’s hall.

Police who ran toward the gunman retreat back to where the officers entered. Thirty-one minutes later, according to the video’s time stamp, more heavily armed officers enter the scene, some with heavy weapons and shields.

Later still, four more shots are heard as armed officers continue to huddle and take cover away from the action, staying close to where Ramos entered the school. Commands are called out as a larger group of officers file down the hallway with weapons drawn. One officer is seen entering the camera from the left and applying the hand sanitizer shortly before more gunfire blares, which the paper attributes to authorities killing Ramos after entering a classroom.

Armed Uvalde officers waited for key to unlocked door, official says

Ramos, 18, was in the school for more than an hour before police fatally shot him. He killed 19 children and two teachers.

The Texas House committee investigating the police response told Uvalde families that they would get a first look this weekend at the 77-minute video from the fish-eye camera inside the school. The three-person committee’s report is expected soon. The video is one of several pieces of evidence it has reviewed.

After the newspaper published the footage, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw said he was “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.”

“Those most affected should have been among the first to see it,” McCraw said. “DPS will not be providing the video at this time.”

Gloria Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn Cazares was killed in the shooting, urged her Facebook friends to “not share that video that was leaked!”

“This is the opposite of what the families wanted!!!!! If you are a true friend please do not share it, I don’t want to see it in my feed nor do I want to be tagged on any of the news stations that are sharing it,” she wrote. “Our hearts are shattered all over again!”

At a Uvalde City Council meeting Tuesday evening, Mayor Don McLaughlin called the release “chickensh--.”

“There was no reason for these families to have to see that,” McLaughlin said. “Whether it was released by DPS or whoever, this was wrong to do it this way.”

At the meeting, Uvalde County Commissioner Ronald Garza said the county commission passed a resolution to request that the Texas legislature call a special session to raise the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon. He then urged the city to do the same. McLaughlin said he would put it on the council’s agenda.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D), who represents Uvalde and has been critical of the investigation, was in Washington on Tuesday with families who were at the Capitol to speak to lawmakers. When they learned that the hallway video would be released imminently, one family asked Gutierrez to try to stop it. He said he could not.

“I’m just disappointed right now, disappointed in government,” Gutierrez said. “You tell families that you are going to distribute this in a certain way, but someone in government decided to leak. These families have been on an emotional roller coaster and been promised so much, and it hasn’t happened.”

Gutierrez said he’s dismayed by the piecemeal disclosure of information by government and investigating officials. Instead of helping the community understand what happened, he said, the way details have been released has caused more harm.

“Someone in government gave it to the media before the families had a chance to deal with it and prepare themselves for this highly sensitive material,” he said. “I don’t know who is calling the shots, but it is so disturbing what they are doing to these families. It’s high time this governor demand some accountability from his Department of Public Safety.”

Also on Tuesday, ABC affiliate KVUE released a video containing more than an hour of footage from the school.

Uvalde officer spotted gunman, then asked for permission to shoot, report says

Researchers from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University, which specializes in active-shooter training, found tactical errors and potential breaches of protocol in a review of the police response to the deadliest school shooting in the United States in nearly a decade.

Police were carrying radios that would not communicate. Classroom doors had locks that could not be secured from inside. And the school district’s police chief, Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, made error after error throughout the catastrophe, according to testimony from McCraw, the Texas Department of Public Safety director.

The video release comes two days after hundreds of Uvaldeans marched in triple-digit heat from Robb Elementary School to the city plaza, recently cleared of a memorial to the victims, accompanied by the Brown Berets, a decades-old Chicano social justice organization.

Representatives from the families involved spoke at the event dubbed “Unheard Voices,” including 9-year-old AJ Martinez, who was injured in the attack. They repeated their demands for transparency in the investigation and calls for more gun-control measures during hours of heart-wrenching speeches and stories about their lost loved ones.

“If I can’t have her, then those who failed her will never know peace,” said Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio was killed. “We want answers. We seek justice, and we demand change. We will never rest.”

The victims’ families sought to memorialize their children. Maite Rodriguez’s mother wore a shirt emblazoned with her daughter’s name on her back. Her family all wore green Converse shoes and drew a heart on the toe — just like the ones she wore.

Rubio’s family carried a framed picture of Alexandria in her softball uniform. Vincent Salazar raised a poster board with his granddaughter’s image framed by wings during the march. “It’s a joke,” 67-year-old Salazar said about the sporadic release of investigative information and political wrangling between the state and local officials over it. “Nobody is communicating with nobody.”

Ruben Urrabazo arrived early to the march with his family. His daughter was in the school at the time of the shooting but escaped unharmed — physically. As the group of marchers swelled, a row of Texas Department of Public Safety bicycle officers cycled by the assembly in unison. “Missed you when we needed you,” the 32-year-old father yelled their way.

The rage and push for change, Urrabazo said, is unifying the community around all the ways their elected leaders have seemingly ignored them.

“Growing up here, Hispanics are so timid. They’re so afraid to speak out, mostly because we live in a border town and a lot of people’s families have people who are here illegally,” he said. “We should break away from that. We are American citizens. We should not be afraid to voice our concerns.”