Uvalde body camera footage gives more details on what unfolded after police arrived

Attorney says Uvalde officials can expect lawsuits

Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school, but “egregiously poor decision-making” resulted in more than an hour of chaos before the gunman who took 21 lives was finally confronted and killed, according to a damning investigative report released Sunday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New body camera footage obtained by CNN was released Sunday from the responding officers in the Uvalde school shooting.

The footage shows the officers waiting inside the hallway of Robb Elementary School for more than 70 minutes before shooting and killing the gunman.

This comes after a Texas House of Representatives Committee released a preliminary report into the school shooting Sunday afternoon.

The committee called the police response lackadaisical and said there was poor decision-making.

The report also details some systemic problems they now have to change.

The committee mentioned how the doors to the school and to those classrooms were unlocked, making it easier for the gunman to get inside. Then they talked about police response saying someone should have taken command of the situation but didn’t.

Now the body camera video shows another perspective of the horrific situation.

The footage shows officers rushing to get inside Robb Elementary.

In the video, you can hear an officer panting as he makes his way into the school. Other officers are standing in the hallway with him as seconds go by and more shots are fired. Then the officers are seen taking cover. An officer can be heard saying “Okay, guys, he’s inside this building. We have him contained.” It’s around 11:45 a.m. when all of this is taking place and more officers are seen in the hallway. Then minutes later the officers continue to wait for instructions.

You can hear one officer ask, “What are we doing here?”

This report by a Texas House of Representative Committee says other officers were wondering the same.

According to the report, one officer was heard on body camera asking “Y’all don’t know if there’s kids in there?” and a special agent responded saying “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”

Texas State Representative Dustin Burrows said he knew there were officer there that wanted to do more but couldn’t.

“That day several officers in the hallway or in that building knew or should’ve known there was dying in that classroom and they should’ve done more,” Burrows said.

Fast forward to 11:59, officers are seen helping children escape from a window. After that, we see Uvalde School District Chief Pete Arredondo trying to speak with the gunman.

The report said they treated the shooting like a barricade situation as opposed to an active shooter situation.

Chief Arredondo justified that in the report saying “you eliminate the threat when you could see it. … I never saw a threat.”

Later in the video, 911 dispatch received a call from a child inside the classroom. At 12:18 a.m. officer are still seen in the hallway. The chief tried to open the door with keys, but it’s doesn’t work. More officers fill the hallway as shots go off.

The chief attempts to talk to the gunman again but it doesn’t work. More than 30 minutes go by before police go in to kill the gunman. By then, it was too late for the 19 kids and two teachers in the classroom.

Only one officer from the shooting is known to be on leave. At the press conference held Sunday afternoon, people carried signs saying “Prosecute Pete Arredondo.”

News4JAX spoke to an Attorney Gene Nichols who said there is no question we will see a lawsuit following the release of body camera footage.

“Any lawyer is going to want to pursue the school and their failure to just do something as simple as lock the doors,” Nichols said.

The report says the school had a regrettable culture of noncompliance by employees who frequently propped doors open and circumvented locks.

They also say there were problems with the WI-FI delaying the lockdown alert systems, and no one going over the intercom to communicate a lockdown.

Then the report shifts focus to the police. It says a void of leadership could have contributed to the loss of life as injured victims waited over an hour for help.

Nichols said he doesn’t expect officers to be held criminally liable for what they failed to do because it’s a reach to say the officers intended for this to happen.

“When it comes to a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office and or the officers, the question is going to be as to whether or not the officers were trained, were they properly trained? Were they improperly trained? And did the failure to train or those actions have an effect in this case?,” Nichols said.

The report also says officers failed to adhere to their training and that they failed to adhere to their active shooter training, and they failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.

During the Sunday afternoon news conference, the committee said the preliminary report was done to set the record straight and to debate and discuss policy that needs to change to make children in Texas safer.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad