The Austin-American Statesman has released footage from the school shooting in Uvalde, which has angered and retraumatized local families.
Originally planned to be released on Sunday (July 17) for bereaved families, Statesman instead leaked the footage on Tuesday evening (July 12), first showing now-deceased gunman Salvador Ramos enter the school after shooting bullets from his semi-automatic rifle outside the building. The video captures the delayed response of police officers who stood in the hallway for more than one hour before the classroom was breached by law enforcement and Ramos was killed. One officer in the video checks his phone, while another gets a squirt of hand sanitizer from a dispenser in the hallway.
Parents of the shooting victims and local families have been blindsided from the video leak, which has also ignited a public outcry. Gloria Cazares, whose daughter was among the 19 students that were killed during the shooting, urged people not to share the video in a Facebook post.
“This is the opposite of what the families wanted,” she wrote. “Our hearts are shattered all over again!”
“Whoever leaked that video… I pray that you never have to deal with what all the parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles are dealing with. Shame on you,” another family member said at a press conference in Washington DC.
Officials also expressed disappointment at the video release during a town council meeting on Tuesday.
“They didn’t need to see the gunman coming in and hear the gunshots. They don’t need to relive that, they’ve been through enough,” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said.
The Austin-American Statesman defended the footage release in a public statement.
“Transparency and unrelenting reporting is a way to bring change,” it read. “Our goal is to continue to bring to light what happened at Robb Elementary, which the families and friends of the Uvalde victims have long been asking for.”