Video: Police Didn't Try Uvalde Classroom Door

Law enforcement source says door might have been unlocked
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2022 1:30 PM CDT
Uvalde Classroom Door Might Have Been Unlocked
A mourner delivers flowers to a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on June 9.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(Newser) – In the 77 minutes that a Texas gunman was alone in two connected classrooms with Robb Elementary students and teachers, police didn't try to open the door, a law enforcement source said. Police later claimed they couldn't get into the rooms and were hunting for a key or a tool that would open the door. But surveillance video shows officers didn't try the door, the San Antonio Express-News reports. During that time, the gunman shot to death 19 children and two teachers. Investigators reportedly don't think the killer could have locked the door from the inside.

Classroom doors at the Uvalde school are supposed to lock automatically when they close, the source said, so that a key is needed to enter the room. It's possible officers didn't check the door because they assumed it was locked. A malfunction could have caused the door to be unlocked. Investigators have not concluded it was already open, but that's what the evidence suggests, the source said; video shows the gunman opening the door when he arrived. He entered the building through a door that state police originally said had been propped open by a teacher. Video showed that the teacher did close the door.

Regardless, officers had access to, but didn't use, a crowbar-like tool called a halligan that can open a locked door, per the Express-News. Shortly after the massacre, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the gunman locked the door behind him. "Each door can lock from the inside," Steven McCraw said. Officials have received dozens of requests for copies of the surveillance footage, per KENS, which the city is opposing. (Read more Texas mass shooting stories.)

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