21 people, including 19 kids aged nine to 11, were murdered by a mentally unstable 18-year-old at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24.
The brutality of the event, and conflicting and contrary reports on the fumbled the authorities response, sparked outrage within the Lone Star State plus across the country.
Uvalde officials’ use of a legal loophole to avoid releasing police records , including footage from officers’ body cameras, 911 calls from students, emails, criminal records and other information has sparked concerns through Texans and others that professionals are engaged in a cover-up.
On Monday, the Austin American-Statesman plus Austin KVUE-TV revealed , citing documents and security footage, that officials with high-powered weapons and at least one ballistic shield reached Robb Elementary within 19 minutes of the gunman’s arrival on the scene – challenging earlier accounts by police officials about their own response time and the sources they had at their disposal.
On Tuesday, Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Section of Public Safety, said in Senate testimony how the police had enough entire body armor-equipped officers to “ isolate, distract and neutralize” the gunman just three minutes after he entered the school, but instead waited within the hallway for nearly an hour as he carried out his attack.
“ There is compelling evidence which the law enforcement response to the assault at Robb Elementary had been an abject failure, and antithetical to everything coming from learned over the last two decades since the Columbine Massacre, ” McCraw said, blaming on-scene leader Pete Arredondo for placing armed officers’ lives above those of unarmed children.
The revelations have got sparked new questions among parents of the victims and members of the public about why police didn’t confront or attempt to neutralize the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was murdered by a tactical team device nearly 80 minutes right after he arrived at the school and began shooting.
Last week, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the school’s security cam footage showed that officers did not even try to open the door to the sessions where Ramos was situated.
However , aside from security cam still images shown by KVUE-TV, the mass media and the public have not been given access to or allowed to reveal other footage and information, with the Texas Tribune plus ProPublica, a New York-based investigative journalism nonprofit, saying nothing of the roughly seventy public information requests they submitted over the past 30 days have been granted.
Last week, Vice reported that will Uvalde’s city administration plus police department had hired a law firm to stop the potentially “ highly embarrassing” records from being released. On Mon, the release of a clip displaying a fire marshal asking reporters to leave Uvalde Town Hall during a hearing among city officials and officials responding to the shooting sparked claims of a cover-up, with all the hashtag #UvaldeCoverUp well-known on Twitter for two straight days.
“ 58 minutes of blood shed an[d] massacre as officers stood idly outside the classroom. Armed and shielded. The ineptitude and cowardice alone justifies disclosure of the bodycam. Generate the goods! #UvaldeCoverUP, ” criminal defense attorney and media personality Sara Azari wrote .
“ This will go down among the worst law enforcement responses in the history of law enforcement, ” an additional user using the hashtag wrote . “ Have not the feds taken this over? Uvalde leaders are incompetent, ” a third asked .
The hashtag was also turned into a soapbox with regard to politicians and partisan theatrics, with Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke inquiring authorities to stop their “ stonewalling” and “ lies” and “ launch the facts. ” On the other side of the aisle, traditional New York trial lawyer Matthew Kolken used the issue in order to push his views about gun control.
“[NY governor] Kathy Hochul and Nyc Democrats want you unarmed and helpless under the guise of safety while the #UvaldeCoverUp evidences that the police is not going to protect you against evil individuals who intend to do you harm, ” he wrote .
A group of Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed an outline of a bipartisan gun deal previously this month, including simple curbs for firearms accessibility, and more support for the mentally disturbed. However , the clock is ticking for Congress in order to approve the deal ahead of the upcoming July 4 recess.