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33 children, 3 teachers waited desperately for more than an hour during Uvalde massacre, analysis shows

Police knew for 77 minutes that more than a dozen students remained alive inside a locked Texas classroom but still stood by as they waited to act before tactical gear would arrive, a new analysis of the shooting revealed on Thursday.

In the days since 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24, investigators have examined law enforcement’s immediate response closely as to if police should have attacked the killer sooner.

The confrontation ended when a Border Patrol unit, in tactical gear, finally got into the two connected classrooms and killed the gunman.

A total of 33 children and three teachers originally in those classrooms remained alive during the hour and 17 minutes as police waited for tactical gear to be delivered to the scene, the New York Times reported, citing law enforcement sources, documents, body camera footage and transcripts.

Schools police chief  Pete Arredondo is believed to have been the incident commander and has taken the brunt of the criticism for officers not confronting the gunman immediately.

The initial hesitation to go into the classrooms appeared to be based on the desire to get protective shields for officers and to find a key for classroom doors, the Times reported.

Arredondo appeared to know at the time that he’d be blamed for a delayed response.

“People are going to ask why we’re taking so long,” a voice believed to be Arredondo’s could be heard saying, according to a transcript of body camera footage. “We’re trying to preserve the rest of the life.”

NBC News was not able to verify material cited by the Times.

A rep for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declined to discuss the specifics of the report, citing federal and state probes that are now underway.

“The investigations being conducted by the Texas Rangers and the FBI are ongoing, and we look forward to the full results being shared with the victims’ families and the public, who deserve the full truth of what happened that tragic day,” Abbott’s press secretary Renae Eze said in a statement.

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