Over a dozen Uvalde victims remained alive, in need of medical during 77 excruciating minutes police stalled: report

As Uvalde authorities waited 77 minutes before confronting mass shooter Salvador Ramos, over “a dozen of the 33 children and three teachers originally in the two classrooms” he’d barricaded himself in remained alive and in need of medical attention.

As a result, investigators are now “working to determine whether any of those who died could have been saved if they had received medical attention sooner,” as reported by The New York Times.

In other words, would they still be alive had Uvalde authorities confronted Ramos from the get-go instead of waiting 77 minutes?

What’s clear either way is that “some of the victims were still alive and in desperate need of medical attention” throughout the whole ordeal, the Times reported Thursday, citing information contained in newly released law enforcement documents.

“One teacher died in an ambulance. Three children died at nearby hospitals, according to the documents. Xavier Lopez, 10, was one of the children who died after being rushed to a hospital. His family said he had been shot in the back and lost a lot of blood as he awaited medical attention,” according to the Times.

“He could have been saved. The police did not go in for more than an hour. He bled out,” the deceased boy’s grandfather reportedly said.

So why didn’t the authorities go in sooner? The blame has thus far been placed on school district police chief Pete Arredondo, who reportedly waited for the arrival of “protective equipment to lower the risk to law enforcement officers.”

He “appeared to be agonizing over the length of time it was taking to secure the shields that would help protect officers when they entered and to find a key for the classroom doors, according to law enforcement documents and video gathered as part of the investigation,” the Times reported.

He continued agonizing even after becoming “aware that not everyone inside the classrooms was already dead.”

Bodycam footage reviewed by the Times shows Arredondo saying at one point, “People are going to ask why we’re taking so long. We’re trying to preserve the rest of the life.”

It’s not clear whom he’d been referencing though when he’d said “the rest of the life.”

“We think there are some injuries in there. And so you know what we did? We cleared off the rest of the building so we wouldn’t have any more, besides what’s already in there, obviously,” Arredondo says later in the same bodycam footage.

On the same day that the Times published its bombshell report, The Texas Tribune published an interview with Arredondo. In the interview, he made a couple bizarre claims. He said, for instance, that he hadn’t been aware that he was the commander in charge of the operation.

“He said he never considered himself the scene’s incident commander and did not give any instruction that police should not attempt to breach the building,” according to the Tribune.

“I didn’t issue any orders. I called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door,” he said in his own words.

Yet Texas Department of Public Safety officials have have said the opposite.

They’ve “described Arredondo as the incident commander and said Arredondo made the call to stand down and treat the incident as a ‘barricaded suspect,’ which halted the attempt to enter the room and take down the shooter,” according to the Tribune.

In the interview, Arredondo also offered an argument for why evacuating other classrooms was more important than confronting the shooter.

“With the gunman still firing sporadically, Arredondo realized that children and teachers in adjacent rooms remained in danger if the gunman started shooting through the walls. … Arredondo told officers to start breaking windows from outside other classrooms and evacuating those children and teachers,” according to the Tribune.

“He wanted to avoid having students coming into the hallway, where he feared too much noise would attract the gunman’s attention. While other officers outside the school evacuated children, Arredondo and the officers in the hallway held their position and waited for the tools to open the classroom and confront the gunman.”

“The ammunition was penetrating the walls at that point. We’ve got him cornered, we’re unable to get to him. You realize you need to evacuate those classrooms while we figured out a way to get in,” Arredondo said in his own words.

He also explained why he hadn’t had his police radio on him the whole time.

“Thinking he was the first officer to arrive and wanting to waste no time, Arredondo believed that carrying the radios would slow him down. One had a whiplike antenna that would hit him as he ran. The other had a clip that Arredondo knew would cause it to fall off his tactical belt during a long run,” the Tribune reported.

“Arredondo said he knew from experience that the radios did not work in some school buildings. But that decision also meant that for the rest of the ordeal, he was not in radio contact with the scores of other officers from at least five agencies that swarmed the scene.”

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