Video Deepens Uvalde Families’ Pain as Questions on Response Remain

Families of those killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May voiced a mix of sorrow and anger on Wednesday after seeing a video showing how armed officers stood around waiting before confronting the gunman.

For the first time, the delayed response that had been exhaustively described and debated could be seen in all its agonizing detail, rekindling the outrage at officers who failed to rush to the aid of children inside two classrooms where 19 students were killed, along with two teachers.

The parents, who had fought for weeks to gain clarity on what exactly took place inside Robb Elementary School on May 24, were finally able to watch part of the minute-by-minute police response along with viewers around the country after The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE posted the video on Tuesday.

The decision to do so brought immediate criticism from officials, who had planned to unveil video from the school on Sunday as part of an investigatory report by a special Texas House committee, and underscored what has been weeks of shifting official accounts, partial revelations and resistance to demands — including from the mayor of Uvalde — for information to be made public.

The video published on Tuesday had been previously reviewed by The New York Times as part of its reporting on the police response in Uvalde — a protracted 77 minutes from the time the gunman entered the school to when officers confronted and killed him.

It consists primarily of surveillance footage from a single hallway camera inside the school, with muffled sound, at times synchronized with an officer’s body-worn camera.

But dozens of other videos, including from the body cameras of officers inside and outside the school, have yet to be made public. And though the video documents the movements of officers —

some of whom were heavily armed and armored — it does not answer the central questions that have haunted many families: Why did those officers wait so long, and who, ultimately, is to blame for the delay?

“It’s horrible, as far as police response,” said State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents the area and has been pressing for more information to be released. 

The video showing only portions of the police response did nothing to explain the delays, he said, and appeared to be part of an ongoing effort to control public perception of the event.

“People are asking for transparency, and for this Hollywood version — is this supposed to shut up a bunch of people who are pissed off about the government’s response?” he said. “Because all it does for me is it opens up a whole hell of a lot more questions.”