The Uvalde school district police chief was well aware students and a teacher were still alive inside a Robb Elementary classroom where a gunman had already killed multiple children.
Chief Pete Arredondo was uneasy with the time it took to procure shields for officers and find keys to the classroom where the gunman was holding injured and terrified children for more than an hour, according to the New York Times.
According to the report, Arredondo waited 40 minutes after officers first approached the classroom door and were shot at before authorizing a breach.
Arredondo was aware that a teacher, the wife of one of his officers, was injured and still alive inside the classroom and knew students were wounded and alive.
“People are going to ask why we’re taking so long,” Arredondo said at the scene, according to a transcript of body camera footage. “We’re trying to preserve the rest of the life,” he continued.
According to the report, well before the breach, Arredondo said, “We think there are some injuries in there… we cleared off the rest of the building so we wouldn’t have any more, besides what’s already in there, obviously.”
According to the report, Arredondo did not begin to discuss entering the classroom until 12:21 p.m., 48 minutes after the gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m.
“We’re ready to breach, but that door is locked,” he said at about 12:30 p.m.
“If there’s kids in there, we need to go in there,” officers said as they became impatient, according to the report.
At 12:46 p.m., Arredondo reportedly said, “If y’all are ready to do it, you do it.”
However, it would be Border Patrol Tactical Unit agents and a sheriff’s deputy who stormed the classroom and killed the gunman.
While the Department of Justice is still investigating the events of that day in Uvalde, Texas, it has become clear that the local authorities failed to respond quickly and accurately to tragic events that left 21 dead.