Police officers who responded to the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre didn’t try to open a door to classrooms even as they had access to a “crowbar-like tool” to do so when the shooter was inside, a source told the San Antonio Express-News.
The source, whom the newspaper identified as law enforcement close to the investigation, revealed officers didn’t make an attempt at the door in the 77 minutes between when the gunman entered the classrooms and when law enforcement breached the door.
The massacre left 19 children and two teachers dead in May after the gunman entered Robb Elementary through an unlocked door.
Classroom doors were “designed to lock automatically,” however, the source said video shows the gunman opened a door to enter a classroom connected to another classroom.
The “crowbar-like tool” could have opened the door and Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo didn’t try keys on the door to the classroom where the shooter was inside, the source said.
The new details come just one day after a report in The New York Times indicated a police officer had a “brief chance” to shoot the gunman with his AR-15-style rifle but didn’t out of concern he might also hit students.
Texas state Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D), who represents the district where the shooting took place, told the San Antonio Express-News that “three or four extra” children or a teacher’s life could have been spared if the door had been opened sooner by police.
He claimed agencies who allowed officers to wait “committed negligence” if the door could have been pried open or unlocked.
The police response to the school massacre is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, the Texas Legislature and Texas Rangers.
Uvalde Police on Friday agreed to comply with an investigation of the shooting response by a Texas House committee, according to a Texas lawmaker.