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WATCH: First video of Uvalde school shooting published

The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV published portions of video from the Uvalde shooting as a Texas House committee prepares to release footage on Sunday.

Multiple police officers stood
Multiple police officers stood in a hallway at Robb Elementary School armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield within 19 minutes of a gunman arriving at the campus.(Uvalde ISD / Uvalde Independent School Distri)

By Philip Jankowski

AUSTIN — For the first time since the May 24 Uvalde shooting, the public can now see portions of video from the scene, including the first images of the shooter carrying out the attack, after the Austin American-Statesmanand KVUE-TV published the footage Tuesday.

The video, abridged and edited to removed children’s screams, depicts how police amassed inside Robb Elementary School three minutes after the gunman entered but failed to take action for more than an hour, defying active shooter training that calls on law enforcement officers to take out a threat even at the cost of their own lives.

The footage also has sound of the shooter firing dozens of shots just after entering a classroom, committing a massacre that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

The video came from a hallway surveillance camera and body camera footage obtained by the two outlets. It captures dozens of officers in the hallway, some heavily armed and with body armor, helmets and protective shields.

They pointed weapons at the classroom, talked, made calls, sent texts and looked at floor plans but didn’t enter the classrooms.

Officers finally rushed into the classroom and killed the gunman 77 minutes after the first officers arrived.

“It was embarrassing to see: people on the cellphones, texting, another gentleman putting sanitizer in his hands,” Javier Cazares, father of Jackie Cazares, told NBC News after seeing the video.

“They need to give up their badge,” he said of the officers.

Tensions ran high at the Uvalde City Council’s meeting Tuesday evening, just hours after the video was published, NBC News reported.

Mayor Don McLaughlin called media outlets that published the article “chicken” and “unprofessional.” A resident from the crowd then asked McLaughlin if he felt that law enforcement officers were chickens.

The publication of the video comes as Rep. Dustin Burrows, chairman of a Texas House committee investigating the Uvalde shooting, indicated Tuesday that he would defy a local district attorney and release it to the public on Sunday after showing it to victims’ families.

After the footage was published Tuesday, Burrows said on Twitter that he was “disappointed the victim’s families and the Uvalde community’s requests to watch the video first, and not have certain images and audio of the violence, were not achieved.”

Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said he was disappointed that the video had been released before Burrows’ plan to show it to the families of Uvalde victims Sunday.

“Those most affected should have been among the first to see it,” he said in a prepared statement. “As I stated during my testimony before the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans, this video provides horrifying evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary on May 24 was an abject failure.”

A Democrat on the committee, Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso, said the report that will be released Sunday will provide context.

Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee has prevented government officials from releasing any videos, citing an ongoing investigation. Busbee did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday. A chorus of state lawmakers, including Gov. Greg Abbott, had called on her to release the video.

At a Monday meeting in Austin of the House investigative committee looking into the shooting, Burrows stressed the need for the public to see the video to answer lingering questions about why police waited more than an hour to confront the 18-year-old gunman while he was inside a classroom with children.

“The committee can tell people all day long what we saw, but it’s very different to see it for yourself,” Burrows said Monday. “We think that’s very important, and we’ll continue to put pressure on the situation and consider all options in making sure that video gets out for the public to view.”

The bipartisan panel including a former Texas Supreme Court judge has interviewed nearly 40 witnesses from Uvalde law enforcement, Uvalde schools and the Texas Department of Public Safety since it first met more than a month ago.

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