SAN ANTONIO — The New York Times reports that law enforcement responding to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary delayed entering the classroom, despite knowing some victims were alive inside.
Reporters reviewed body camera footage transcripts and other material collected by investigators who are piecing together the May 24 events.
At least one responder, believed to be UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, can be heard saying, "people are going to ask why we're taking so long," according to the Times investigation.
"We're trying to preserve the rest of the life," he reportedly continued.
Department of Public Safety head Steve McCraw blamed Arredondo, as commander in charge of the scene, for waiting to breach the door.
"Of course that was not the right decision," he said in a May 27 press conference. "It was the wrong decision. Period. There's no excuse for that."
Arredondo apparently decided officers might be killed if they entered the classroom without protective shields, the report suggests.
As many as 19 officers waited in the hallway. After the gunman shot the first responding officers through the classroom door, the report finds that no one approached the entrance again for more than 40 minutes.
It's still not clear when Arredondo became aware of injuries inside the classroom, or whether officers were aware children inside were begging 911 dispatchers for help.
The investigation reveals that Ruben Ruiz, a school police officer married to teacher Eva Mireles, informed responders his wife was injured and alive in one of the classrooms at 11:48 a.m.
That message reportedly reached a sergeant inside the the school, waiting near Arredondo, by 12:30 p.m. The sergeant expressed that he was aware of the teacher's injuries, according the body camera footage transcripts the Times obtained.
Mireles is one of the 21 victims who died during the shooting. The Times reports that bodycam footage showed officers carrying her out, and that she made it into an ambulance, but died before making it to the hospital.
Reporters also found that most law enforcement officers' radios did not function properly inside the school building.
Investigators reportedly tested the radios carried by Uvalde city and Uvalde school police and found they did not work inside the school or outside it.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether medics could've saved more victims' lives had law enforcement entered the classroom earlier. Three children got to area hospitals before they died, documents show.