911 Calls From Uvalde Shooting Underscore Delayed Police Response

Newly released recordings of children and teachers pleading for help spotlight the heartbreaking failure of law enforcement in the Texas school shooting.

Elementary school teachers and students, pinned down by a mass killer in the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, pleaded for help in horrifying 911 calls that spotlight the heartbreak of the slow police response.

Note to readers: Recordings in The Texas Tribune and ProPublica links are graphic and disturbing.

“Please hurry. There’s a lot of dead bodies,” a 10-year-old trapped in a classroom with the gunman tells the dispatcher in one of 20 emergency calls obtained by The Texas Tribune and ProPublica. With cries of terrorized and injured children in the background, the dispatcher tells the girl, Khloie Torres, to keep everyone quiet.

“I’m telling everybody to be quiet and now nobody is listening to me,” Khloie said, according to a recording obtained by CNN. “I know how to handle these situations. My dad taught me when I was a little girl. Send help. Some of my teachers are still alive but they’re shot.”

The existence of the 911 calls has been reported in the aftermath of the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School. But the actual recordings show the desperation and urgency of those trapped with a killer as dozens of assembled police officers failed to confront the gunman for more than an hour. Nineteen students and two teachers died.

Officers stormed the classroom and shot the killer dead 40 minutes after Khloie Torres first called for help. She survived.

“There was no control. That dude had control the entire 77 minutes,” Khloie’s father, Ruben Torres Jr., told ProPublica. “They didn’t have him barricaded. He had the police barricaded outside. It’s plain and simple. The police didn’t go in. That’s your job: to go in.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

A Texas House investigative committee, along with surveillance and body camera footage obtained by the Austin American-Statesman in July, revealed law enforcement’s inaction.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the police response. School police chief Pete Arredondo was fired in August. Last week, a Texas Department of Public Safety officer was fired, and the entire Uvalde school police force was suspended.

The newly released 911 recordings show the first two calls, at 11:29 a.m., reported a man running toward the school from a crashed pickup truck with a gun.

“He’s inside the school shooting at the kids!” the third caller yelled.

Teacher Monica Martinez phoned from a classroom closet at 11:36 a.m.

“There’s somebody banging at my school,” Martinez said in a muffled voice. “I’m so scared.”

Khloie called 911 again at 12:36 p.m. — long after law enforcers began massing in the hallway outside her classroom.

“There’s a school shooting,” Khloie said. “Yes, I’m aware,” the dispatcher responded. “I was talking to you earlier. You’re still there in your room? You’re still in room 112?”

“Yeah,” Khloie answered. “OK. You stay on the line with me. Do not disconnect,” the dispatcher said.

“Can you tell the police to come to my room?” Khloie whispered minutes later. The dispatcher said: “I’ve already told them to go to the room. We’re trying to get someone to you.”

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