A security camera video leaked by the Austin American-Statesman newspaper on Tuesday painted a disturbing picture of the police response to the Uvalde shooting.
The video shows the halls of the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022, when an eighteen-year-old gunman named Salvador Ramos killed twenty-one people and injured eighteen others.
In the video, police officers are seen running away from gunfire during the shooting rather than heading toward the perpetrator as he entered classrooms and shot young students.
Video of Uvalde shooting adds to questions about police response
The disturbing video first shows the gunman walking across the parking lot of the school and then entering the hallway in possession of a large weapon. He then enters classrooms while children are seen running away. The screams of children have been edited out of the video.
The shooter entered the school and began his attack at around 11:33 AM. Police entered the building and were shot at around 11:37 AM but subsequently retreated.
They returned to engage with the shooter nearly an hour later at 12:21 PM. They then managed to kill the gunman at 12:50 PM. By that time, the shooter had already killed nineteen students and two teachers.
Frightened parents had already begun to gather around the school shortly after the shooting began. They begged police officers to enter the school and take down the gunman as they heard gunshots ring out from the classrooms.
Police response to the shooting has been scrutinized almost immediately since the attack. The video only adds to questions regarding police’s handling of the situation and their whereabouts in the 77 minutes prior to their taking down the gunman.
The release of the video has sparked controversy, as victims’ families were uninformed of the footage before it was leaked.
Manny García, Executive Editor for The Statesman, stated that the video was released after “long and thoughtful discussion,” and that the footage was leaked in search of truth and accountability.
“There’s no reason for the families to have to see that,” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin stated at a city council meeting. “I mean, they were going to see the video, but they didn’t need to see the gunman coming in and hear the gunshots. They don’t need to re-live that…they’ve been through enough.”
Biden calls for stronger gun laws
US President Joe Biden called for stronger gun laws in the wake of the Texas massacre.
“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Biden said in an address from the White House. “When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”
“These kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why?” the President inquired.
In his address to the public after the shooting, Biden said: “They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost, but these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”