Family members of the Uvalde school shooting victims are outraged because local media outlets publicly shared the surveillance footage before they got a chance to view it privately. The 77-minute video shows heavily armed officers crowding a hallway as they wait for instructions while a shooter attacked 19 children and two teachers.
Austin American-Statesman and local ABC affiliate KVUE shared footage from the school’s internal and external cameras, one of the responding officer’s body cameras, a cell phone video, and 911 audio on Tuesday (July 11). “Shame on you,” Berlinda Arreola, the grandmother of 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza, who died in the mass shooting, said while addressing the publications. “All you wanted was the fame and recognition to say you were the first person to leak that video without even taking any of the parent’s, grandparents’, [or] family members’ thoughts into consideration.”
Gloria Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter was also a victim in the Uvalde school shooting, added, “It’s going to be in our social media forever, and not just us, for our kids at home.” The school district also released a statement addressing the leak. “The footage is heartbreaking and we are deeply dismayed that the families that lost loved ones were not given the opportunity they deserve to view it privately before it was shared publicly,” the district said. “We continue to await the results of the ongoing investigation so that we, along with districts across the state and nation, can take informed action to enhance our ability to prevent future tragedies.”
The Austin American-Statesman defended the decision to release the footage in a column written by the company’s ethics and standards editor, Manny Garcia. Garcia writes that the outlet was pushing for more transparency from public officials. “This tragedy has been further tragic by changing stories, heroic-sounding narratives proven to be false, and a delay or, in most cases, rejection of media requests for public information by law enforcement leaders, public officials, and elected leaders. Many of the requests now rest in the hands of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, who has not yet decided what should be released,” he wrote.
The disturbing video shows officers armed with rifles, shields, and body armor waiting for more than an hour before engaging and fatally shooting the killer. R&B singer Mario also slammed law enforcement and the U.S. government for the poor handling of the Uvalde shooting. “All of these cowards should be held accountable! Fucking useless! How do your wives sleep next to you at night?” he wrote on his Instagram story. “All the money spent on gear, training, etc. for what if you can’t protect children! We (US) can go to fucking Syria to bomb some fucking Isis leader but can’t kill [an] armed homeland terrorist who is literally KILLING CHILDREN!?”