AUSTIN, Texas — Uvalde officials have released police body camera footage from seven Uvalde police officers who responded to the May 24 attack at Robb Elementary School, including one who approached the classroom three minutes behind the gunman, only to be pushed back by gunfire that sent him and other officers scrambling for cover.
All is quiet for the first 52 seconds of footage identified as belonging to SWAT commander Eduardo Canales as he and several other officers cautiously approach the classroom — “Watch that door! Watch that door!” he warns — when four loud shots ring out in rapid succession.
“Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding?” Canales asks fellow officers after reaching a hallway corner as two more shots are fired from inside the classroom. Later, the video shows Canales with blood on his hand from a wound to his ear.
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“We got to get in there,” Canales tells just-arriving officers after briefly exiting the school. “Guy’s inside the classroom right now.”
That sense of urgency was somehow lost amid the arrival of hundreds of officers from multiple local, state, and federal agencies, as more than an hour passed before a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team led the way into the classroom and shot dead the gunman.
City officials had held off on making the footage public at the direction of Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee, but Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said he believed that Sunday’s release of the first in-depth investigative report into the shooting, accompanied by video taken from the hallway outside the classroom, changed the situation.
“With the release of the school district’s hallway video, we believe these body camera videos provide further, necessary context,” McLaughlin said in a written statement, adding that the audio and visual depictions were edited to protect the victims.
Families of the shooting victims were given the opportunity to review the video, McLaughlin said.
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The frequently choppy body camera videos depict a chaotic scene as officers enter the hallway and others encircle the school’s multiple buildings, with frequent warnings to avoid east-facing windows in the gunman’s line of sight. Some officers have trouble locating the source of the gunfire as urgent radio calls request “any available unit,” ambulances and bulletproof shields.
Some of the footage shows students, with their images blurred so they can’t be identified, being rescued through windows in classrooms away from the shooting in Rooms 111 and 112.
One officer uses a collapsible baton to smash a window as another yells into the opening: “Is anybody in here? Police! I want everyone to come to the window right now.”
As children are carefully helped out to avoid broken glass, they run to waiting officers in a nearby parking lot. “It’s OK. It’s OK. Run, run. run!” an officer says.
Source by rssfeeds.usatoday.com