Uvalde shooting: Families express anger at leaked video of school attackon July 13, 2022 at 2:51 pm

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Footage from the shooting, published by a local newspaper, shows police waiting to confront the gunman.

Screengrab from the surveillance footage inside Robb Elementary SchoolImage source, Austin American-Statesman

The families of those killed in a mass shooting at a Texas school have expressed anger and outrage after new video was leaked showing the attack.

The 82 minutes of CCTV footage from Uvalde, published by a local newspaper, shows the gunman’s arrival and police waiting 77 minutes to confront him.

But it was published days before officials said they had planned to show the families or release it publicly.

The leak of the footage, as well as what it shows, reignited public anger.

“Whoever leaked that video… I pray that you never have to deal with what all the parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles are dealing with. Shame on you,” one family member said at a press conference in Washington DC.

Gloria Cazares, whose daughter was among the 19 children and two teachers killed in the shooting, urged people not to share the video. “This is the opposite of what the families wanted,” she wrote on Facebook. “Our hearts are shattered all over again!”

But other relatives expressed support at the release. “I am happy it is released. But I wish they would have waited until the family members got to see it beforehand,” Jesse Rizo, who lost a family member in the shooting, told local CBS affiliate Kens5.

The Austin American-Statesman newspaper defended its decision to publish the footage in an editorial late on Tuesday. “Transparency and unrelenting reporting is a way to bring change,” it read.

“Our goal is to continue to bring to light what happened at Robb Elementary, which the families and friends of the Uvalde victims have long been asking for.”

The video, which confirms many of the details already given by Texas officials, begins from the moment the gunman crashes his vehicle near the campus. He fires shots at passers-by outside before entering the school building and strolling unimpeded through the corridors.

It then shows a pupil returning to class from the bathroom. After spotting the gunman walking down the hall in front of him, the student freezes, turns and flees.

The screams of children are redacted throughout the video, but multiple bursts of shots fired by the killer are clearly audible.

The first officers arrived in the hallway only three minutes after the assailant had entered the building, but even as several more gather in the building’s corridor, none attempt to enter the classroom in which the gunman had barricaded himself with students.

Armed officers are also seen approaching the classroom where the shooting took place, but then retreat when gunfire is heard.

Officers who arrive later with tactical gear and other equipment also appear hesitant to confront the gunman. They eventually stormed the classroom and shot the 18-year-old dead more than an hour after he first opened fire.

Stephanie and Michael Chavez of San Antonio pay their respects at a makeshift memorial outside Robb Elementary School,

Image source, Reuters

Texas’ public safety chief Steven McCraw has said the on-scene commander, Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo, “waited for radio and rifles, and he waited for shields and he waited for SWAT”.

Earlier in June, Mr Arredondo said he had not considered himself the commander and did not order police to hold back. He was placed on administrative leave last month and has since resigned.

Mr McCraw has described the police response to the attack as an “abject failure” and said officers wasted vital time looking for a classroom key that was “never needed.”

Officials expressed disappointment over the leak of the footage, which a Texas state senate panel had planned to first show to the bereaved families on Sunday.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, speaking at a town council meeting, called it “one of the most chicken things I’ve seen”.

“They didn’t need to see the gunman coming in and hear the gunshots. They don’t need to relive that, they’ve been through enough,” he said.

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