Law enforcement experts and the community have reacted with shock and outrage following leaked surveillance footage of the Uvalde school massacre that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
The video was leaked by the Austin American-Statesman days before officials planned to allow victims’ families to view the footage and before releasing the video to the public.
The grieving families were outraged by the leak.
“It’s just never-ending pain, it’s just one thing after another,” said Kimberly Rubio, mother of her slain 10-year-old daughter, Lexi.
Angel Garza, whose daughter Amerie Jo was killed in the attack, was also angered by the video.
“We get blindsided by a leak. Who do you think you are to release footage like that of our children who can’t even speak for themselves, but you want to go ahead and air their final moments to the entire world? What makes you think that’s OK?”
The paper’s executive editor, Manny Garcia, justified the decision to publish the video in an editorial.
“We have to bear witness to history, and transparency and unrelenting reporting is a way to bring change.”
The edited 77-minute video began with the moment the gunman entered the main entrance of Robb Elementary School armed with a long rifle.
Another camera angle showed the gunman walking down the hallway and firing numerous rounds through the doors and into classrooms. He then entered a classroom and continued firing shots.
The same camera angle witnessed the arrival of numerous police officers and later SWAT team officers.
The edited video released by the paper was just over four minutes long.
Law enforcement experts were once again astounded by Uvalde police officers’ hesitation in confronting the shooter.
After approaching the door and hearing gun shots, several police officers can be seen retreating further away from the classrooms where the gunman was.
The rest of the video shows more officers arriving and lingering in the hallway for over an hour.
“This should have been over in 3 to 4 minutes,” CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero said of the attack.
“We don’t know what was going on in the minds of those officers who were in the hallway and decided not to act when there were children under gunfire — but from my perspective, every single one depicted in that video should turn in their badge,” Cordero added.
Texas Department of Public Safety director Colonel Steven McCraw and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin were also angry that the families’ wishes to see the footage before it was aired publicly were not granted.
McCraw also affirmed that the video was evidence that law enforcement did not do their duty that day.
“I am deeply disappointed this video was released before all of the families who were impacted that day and the community of Uvalde had the opportunity to view it as part of Chairman Dustin Burrows’ plan. Those most affected should have been among the first to see it,” McCraw said in a written statement.
The DPS head said the video was further proof of the department’s failure that day.
“This video provides horrifying evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary on May 24 was an abject failure.”
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe called the police response a “total mess” filled with countless mistakes.
“The Texas state active shooter response for school-based officers’ training, that every one of these officers has to have had by this point in time, makes it clear that you take everybody that you have when you arrive on that scene and you go downrange to address the threat. That is not what they did,” McCabe said.
“And then the mistakes compound from there, you see one after another, as we watch the video.”
Another law enforcement veteran and expert, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, decried the lack of heroism that day.
“I know what heroism looks like, and that ain’t it,” Ramsey said.
“You have to do what you have to do, period. That’s the job,” he added. “This is not pro bono work, you get paid to do this, and you volunteered to do it. You didn’t get drafted to become a cop. It’s part of what you do.”
Ramsey said that after taking cover from initial fire, the officers should have regrouped and confronted the gunman.