Texas newspaper posts video of police responding to Uvalde shooting

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By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) -A Texas newspaper on Tuesday posted video of police and federal agents responding to the shooting at an Uvalde elementary school in May, footage at the center of a debate among state and local officials as they investigate the actions of law enforcement in the rampage.

The video, posted by the Austin American-Statesman on its website, shows the 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, crash his pickup truck and enter Robb Elementary School carrying a semi-automatic rifle. The sound of AR-15 gunfire is then heard for more than two minutes.

Police officers are seen arriving minutes later. They take cover at the end of a hallway leading to the two classrooms targeted by the shooter. Another 77 minutes go by before they storm the classrooms and exchange fire with him.

The Statesman did not reveal how they got the video, but published an accompanying note defending the decision to post it.

Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers at the school on May 24, one of the latest in a string of mass shootings across the United States that have renewed debate over gun laws and mental health.

Uvalde law enforcement officials have been roundly criticized for their handling of the rampage and especially for waiting more than an hour before confronting Ramos.

A report commissioned by the Texas Department of Public Safety found earlier this month that an Uvalde police officer could have shot Ramos before he entered the school but hesitated while he waited for permission from a supervisor.[nL1N2YN2KA]

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin and a Texas legislative committee investigating the attack have called for the surveillance footage to be made public.

McLaughlin, speaking during an Uvalde City Council meeting on Tuesday, called it "wrong" and "chicken" for the newspaper to have released the video.

The committee has said that Uvalde District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee objected to the release. Busbee and Abbott could not be reached for comment by Reuters on Tuesday.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said https://www.dps.texas.gov/news/statement-director-steven-mccraw-release-uvalde-videoon Twitter that he was "deeply disappointed" by the newspaper's decision to publish the video. McCraw said family members of the slain and wounded should have seen it first.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Njuwa Maina; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)