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Officers arrived at Uvalde school 19 minutes after gunman with rifles and ballistic shield

DALLAS – Police officers were in the hallway armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield within 19 minutes of a gunman arriving at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a new development that raises more questions and criticism about law enforcement’s response to the massacre, according to a new report from The Austin American-Statesman.

According to the US statesman, authorities have reconstructed a timeline of the May 24 shooting using footage from inside the school and body camera videos of more than a dozen officers.

Investigators say the latest information indicates officers had more than enough firepower and protection to bring down the gunman, the US statesman reported. The gunman, an 18-year-old who entered the school with an AR-15, killed 19 children and two teachers.

The new information is expected to be presented Tuesday at a Texas Senate hearing, the US statesman reported, which will give members of the public an opportunity to address lawmakers on gun violence and other related issues.

According to images from inside the school, the gunman entered the building through a back door, walked into a classroom and shot into the classroom before barricading himself, the US statesman reported.

The reconstructed timeline showed that officers broke into the classroom at 12:50 PM. The gunman entered the classroom at 11:33 a.m., the US statesman reported.

Documents reviewed by the US statesman showed that 11 officers entered the school within three minutes of the shooter.

Pete Arredondo, chief of police for the Uvalde school district, called Uvalde police for help at 11:40 a.m., the US statesman reported.

At 11:44 a.m. body camera images detected more shots from the gunman. At 11:52 a.m., an officer with the first ballistic shield entered the school as other officers grew increasingly impatient, the US statesman said.

“If there are children, we have to go in there,” said an officer.

Another officer replied, “Whoever is in charge will decide that.”

A transcript of officers’ body camera images showed that Arredondo was trying to find keys to open the classroom door, the US statesman reported. Officials have said they do not believe officers attempted to open the door.

At 12:03 a.m., an officer with another ballistic shield entered the school, and a third arrived two minutes later.

The new information shows that Arredondo also tried to talk to the gunman and asked if he could hear him.

At 12:46 p.m., Arredondo told SWAT officers to break through the classroom door when ready, the US statesman reported. Footage shows medical units arrived and looked after children in the hallway after the gunman was killed.

Arredondo has come under scrutiny from both state officials and experts trained in mass shooting. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said Arredondo, who he described as the incident commander, made the “wrong decision” not to order officers to speed up the classroom to confront the gunman. .

Arredondo said he did not consider himself the person in charge as the massacre unfolded and assumed someone else had taken control of law enforcement.

Evidence obtained by The New York Times shows that the shooter had a “hellfire” trigger device intended to fire a semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle more like an automatic weapon, but it failed during the attack did not appear to have used.

The shooter had spent more than $6,000 collecting an arsenal of weapons, including two AR-15 rifles, accessories and hundreds of ammunition, according to the documents.

According to the agenda for this week’s hearings, there is no restriction on access to firearms.

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