Footage of Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo 'negotiating' with Salvador Ramos shocks internet
Nearly two months after Texas's deadliest school shooting, body camera footage from inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde was released on July 17 to families and to the public. The 77-minute video showed the inside of the school on May 24 where there was no audio included. However, another video with the audio on shows Police Chief Pete Arredondo standing outside a classroom trying to negotiate with Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old who left 21 dead, instead of engaging with the mass shooter who kept on firing.
In the video shared by CNN correspondent Ryan Nobles, Arredondo urges the teen to talk to him, trying to assure him that "this could be peaceful" and asking him to put his firearm down. Despite the requests, another round of gunshots is heard from the classroom. The police chief continues, "Can you hear me sir? Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anybody else hurt." Unlike the previous footage from the school surveillance camera, the new footage shows close-ups from just outside classrooms 111 and 112, and reveals conversations between officers and pleas to the shooter, as per reports by CNN.
JUST IN: Exclusive body cam video from the law enforcement response to the Uvalde, TX school shooting. @ShimonPro obtained the video from the city's Mayor.— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) July 17, 2022
It shows just how chaotic the situation was: pic.twitter.com/VppNuJ1d7b
Arredondo's attempt at communication
As Arredondo enters, he seems unaware that Ramos has barricaded himself in the classroom with students. He says, “Let me know if there's any kids in there or anything. This could be peaceful.” Hearing no response, he again asks, “Can you tell me your name, anything that can help please?” This too failed to elicit a reply from Ramos. A few minutes later, a 911 dispatcher informs the officers that a student had called, revealing children and teachers are with the gunman. Exactly six minutes later, Arredondo can be seen trying to open the door to a nearby classroom with a set of keys but fails to get access. Followed by him passing the keys to another officer who manages to get into the room. More armored officers arrive at the spot but no major action gets implemented.Then, another round of shots are fired, prompting Arredondo yet again to urge with the teen shooter. “Can you hear me sir? Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anybody else hurt.” It was still at least another half an hour before the officers entered the classroom where Ramos had barricaded himself and kill him.
After the video came to public attention, one reacted by saying, "I didn’t know one of them called 911 while in the room… crazy." Another user wrote, "Honestly wtf . We understand the job is scary but to stand there while kids are being killed is insane to me." Users continued bashing the cops for the inaction at the scene. One individual commented by saying, "That “can you hear me sir” at about 5:20 almost killed me. I just can’t even…"
I didn’t know one of them called 911 while in the room… crazy— bigwangbackagain (@Twillywang) July 17, 2022
Honestly wtf . We understand the job is scary but to stand there while kids are being killed is insane to me— RickyTikkitavii (@tikiitavvii) July 17, 2022
That “can you hear me sir” at about 5:20 almost killed me. I just can’t even…— Data Journalism Today (@DataJToday) July 17, 2022
Officials debate video release
On the other hand, the 77-minute video documents the details of how Uvalde cops dealt with the situation when Ramos entered a classroom inside Robb Elementary School and began firing - killing 19 students and two teachers inside. As per DailyMail, the long video starts with Officer Gazaway standing outside the building at around 12:04 pm and slowly entering the building, where other officers are waiting with their rifles. Among them, a few officers were still waiting outside at the time, chatting by the entrance to the school, while others were chatting in the hallway at the school.
However, the video has been the subject of an intense political debate, with many not wanting it to go public. Before the footage was made public, representative Burrows expressed his displeasure at the release of the video. He said, "The committee is aware a portion of the hallway video has been made public. While I am glad that a small portion is now available for the public, I do believe watching the entire segment of law enforcement’s response, or lack thereof, is also important."
The committee is aware a portion of the hallway video has been made public. While I am glad that a small portion is now available for the public, I do believe watching the entire segment of law enforcement’s response, or lack thereof, is also important.— Dustin Burrows (@Burrows4TX) July 12, 2022