Report: Officers at Uvalde school knew kids were injured while waiting an hour to enter

Responding officers in Uvalde knew there were injured students who were still alive inside a classroom with a gunman while they waited to go in, according to a new report.

A New York Times report details the catastrophic series of failures that delayed treatment and may have cost lives.

Among the new details were that officers, including Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, knew early on there were injured but living victims, but still waited nearly an hour to breach the classrooms.

They reportedly chose to wait in order to get more protection for officers.

Even after the chief determined officers could breach the classrooms, he reportedly waited for a key to unlock the doors.

And it appears most of the doors in the school weren't really equipped to immediately lock in the first place.

The New York Times is citing investigation transcripts and body camera video. 

The details are significant as the special House committee in Austin had its first meeting since the mass shooting. 

"We have a duty to do what we can because our children’s lives are on the line. That’s why this committee is so important," Rep. Joe Moody said.

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Immediately following a five-hour, mostly closed-door hearing into what went wrong at Robb Elementary, the New York Times published a troubling account of what happened May 24 in Uvalde.

The school district’s police chief, Pete Arrendondo, who was the incident commander that day, has been criticized by investigators for waiting more than an hour before trying to take down the gunman. 

The New York Times reports: "More than a dozen of the 33 children and three teachers originally in the two classrooms remained alive during the 1 hour and 17 minutes from the time the shooting began inside the classrooms to when four officers made entry, law enforcement investigators have concluded. By that time, 60 officers had assembled on scene."

Transcripts of officers' body camera footage, according to the Times, say a man believed to be Arredondo could be heard saying: "People are going to ask why we’re taking so long." "We're trying to preserve the rest of the life."

Other details revealed that police officer radios did not work inside the school. 

Chief Arredondo reportedly arrived without a radio and primarily communicated by phone. 

There is also new information about the rifle the gunman, Salvador Ramos, had. 

According to the Times, he had a "’hellfire’ trigger device meant to allow a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle to be fired more like an automatic weapon."

An officer walks outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. (ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)

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Investigation transcripts obtained by the Times also show "some of the officers who first arrived at the school had long guns, more firepower than previously known; and Chief Arredondo learned the gunman’s identity while inside the school and attempted in vain to communicate with him by name through the closed classroom doors."

By 12:46 p.m., Arrendondo reportedly gave the green light to breach the classroom. 

The Times described what happened based on body camera video: "Mr. Ramos was in a corner near a closet in Room 111, facing the doorway, body camera footage showed. He exchanged fire with the officers as they entered. A bullet grazed a Border Patrol agent who was near the door. One of the bullets appeared to have struck the gunman in the head, killing him." 

READ MORE: Uvalde School Shooting News Coverage

As for the special state House committee hearing, lawmakers only interviewed the Texas Department of Public Safety, but did so behind closed doors, only making brief, public statements.

"There is a need for transparency and would love to begin discussing with what we have learned today, but there is also a respect for the process," Rep. Dustin Burrows. 

The House committee will meet again Friday. 

The Senate committee is supposed to have their first meeting at the end of this month.