Texas DPS released new information in the investigation into the police response to the Uvalde school shooting of May 24, which left 19 children and two teachers dead. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw's reference materials were made public on Wednesday, showing transcripts of a call made by school police chief Pete Arredondo, an updated timeline of events, and maps and photographs of the school.
An incident description was made public, based on a recording made of the phone call. This call was made at 11:40 am, 7 minutes after the shooting suspect entered the school. Arredondo made the call to a dispatcher to request backup. He was inside the school at the time of the call, and stated that the shooter had an AR-15 and "shot a whole bunch of times."
"We're inside the building, he's in one room," Arredondo said. "I need a lot of firepower, so I need this building surrounded. Surrounded with as many AR-15s as possible."
McCraw said on Tuesday that the gunman could have been neutralized in "three minutes." Uvalde hired a law firm to try to keep the records from going public. The mayor backed Arredondo.
Arredondo asked the dispatcher for information they had about the location of teachers, asking "is the teacher with him? In his classroom?" The dispatcher said that the teacher was in another room.
"Okay, Arredondo said, "we have him in the room. He's got an AR-15, he's shot a lot. He's in the room, he hasn't come out yet. We're surrounded, but I don't have a radio with me." He said that the shooter was "in room 111 or 112 and we're in here. I'm in the hallway," he said, continuing to call for SWAT to come to the scene.
Arredondo was concerned that the lone gunman had an AR-15, and his officers were armed with pistols. He continued to state that he did not have a radio as the dispatcher asks him to stay on the phone.
"I am," Arredondo stated, "but I'm gonna drop it when he comes out of that door." Arredondo appeared to believe that the gunman was going to emerge from the classroom, as opposed to staying inside and continuing to massacre the small children who he found there.
A new timeline, from Texas DPS, begins at 11:28 am when the suspect crashed his truck into a ditch, and follows him as he shot at two men near a funeral home that was across from the school, through to when he was shot and killed by police, at 12:50 pm.
The timeline of the shooting and the police response were in contention in the days after the shooting, with conflicting accounts of what happened when and how the gunman accessed the school.
It was at 11:29 that a teacher called to report that there was a man with a gun. The suspect took cover outside between two cars, as a school police officer drove past, not seeing the gunman there. The suspect entered through the west door, as seen in the materials released by Texas DPS. At 11:33, he began shooting into classrooms 111 and 112 from the hallway. He went into the room, then came out, then went in again.
At 11:35, two Uvalde three police officers, carrying two rifles, went through the west door, where the suspect had entered. Arredondo went into the building a moment later, along with two other officers, through the south door. Three more officers and a UCISD officer entered the building through the west door.
At 11:37, the suspect shot at the officers from the classroom, injuring two of them. An officer stated that the gunman was "contained." It was then that Arredondo called the dispatcher and asked for SWAT backup, claiming that his officers did not have rifles. Surveillance footage shows that officers were armed with rifles.
A Uvalde officer at 11:41 stated his belief that the suspect was "barricaded in one of the offices," saying that "There's still shooting." Dispatch asks if the door is locked, and the officers do not know, but stated they have something to break it.
Additional first responders arrived on the scene by 11:41 am. By 11:44, a Uvalde officer said, "Have some officers that are available get everybody back."
At 11:48, an officer whose wife had been shot by the gunman, entered the west door and told the other officers that "She says she is shot." Another officer said, "They need to get out of the hallway."
"Chief is in there, Chief is in charge right now hold on," another officer said.
An officer told a DPS Special agent that they needed to establish a perimeter. Another person commented at 11:53 that asks if there were still children inside the classroom, and a DPS Special Agent responded "if there is then they just need to go in." Additional officers began to question if children were still in the classroom.
A DPS Special Agent asks at 11:54 asks an officer "Are kids still in there?"
The officer responds "It is unknown at this time."
"He's in classroom 111 or 112. But Chief is making contact with him. No one has made contact with him," A Uvalde officer said.
"Y'all don't know if there's kids in there?" An officer asks at 11:56.
"If there's kids in there we need to go in there," the DPS Special Agent says.
"Whoever is in charge will determine that," said a Uvalde officer.
"It sounds like a hostage rescue situation. Sounds like a [undercover] rescue, they should probably go in," the DPS Special Agent says.
Another officer states that a supervisor needs to approve that, and the DPS Special Agent says that the two have different supervisors.
It was still an hour until officers went into the classroom.
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