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Ah, so that’s why the cops there are trying to suppress bodycam footage from that day, even hiring a private law firm to fight the public’s attempt to access it. One of the reasons given by the firm for not releasing the footage is that it might contain, and I quote, “highly embarrassing information.” What kind of highly embarrassing information?

This blockbuster from the San Antonio Express-News may hold the answer. Is it possible that 19 cops stood in the hallway outside the classroom where the shooter was holed up for more than an hour and … never once tried the doorknob?

If so, Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo has been caught in a brazen lie.

My impression of how the gunman entered room 111 at Robb Elementary was that he shot out the window in the classroom door, reached through the hole, and unlocked it from the inside. But maybe I’ve been mistaken. He did shoot through the window, according to 11-year-old survivor Miah Cerrillo, but Cerrillo hasn’t said specifically how he managed to the door, which was supposed to lock automatically when closed.

Did it? Or had the door’s lock malfunctioned, allowing it to be opened from the outside?

A law enforcement source who’s seen the surveillance footage told the Express-News that the door may have been unlocked the entire time. The cops never once tried the handle.

Surveillance footage shows that police never tried to open a door to two classrooms at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in the 77 minutes between the time a gunman entered the rooms and massacred 21 people and officers finally stormed in and killed him, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation.

Investigators believe the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at the school on May 24 could not have locked the door to the connected classrooms from the inside, according to the source…

Regardless, officers had access the entire time to a “halligan” — a crowbar-like tool that could have opened the door to the classrooms even if it was locked, the source said.

Using a crowbar to pry the door open would have been tricky in these circumstances, experts told WaPo last week, because it would have taken time and the shooter was waiting on the other side of the door. Cops can ram and burst through a door that opens inward, surprising a gunman, but the classroom doors at Robb Elementary opened outward.

That’s academic if the Express-News’s source is right, though. If there was no lock on the inside of the door, and if the shooter was able to open it from the outside because the automatic lock didn’t work for whatever reason, then the cops could have burst in at any time. No crowbar necessary.

Ten days ago Arredondo and his lawyer told the Texas Tribune that part of the reason for the long delay in entering was because none of the many keys he tried over the course of 77 minutes succeeded at unlocking the door from the outside. How is it possible that he was trying dozens of keys but never once tried the handle? The Express-News has the explanation:

Arredondo was not trying those keys in the door to classrooms 111 and 112, where Ramos was holed up, according to the law enforcement source. Rather, he was trying to locate a master key by using the various keys on doors to other classrooms nearby, the source and the Texas Tribune article said.

Unbelievably, it may be that neither Arredondo nor any other cop on the scene ever once tried the doorknob to room 111. And if that’s true, Arredondo and his lawyer lied to the Texas Tribune. “Arredondo and the Uvalde officer entered the building’s south side and saw another group of Uvalde police officers entering from the north,” the Tribune wrote on June 9, relying on what Arredondo told them. “Arredondo checked to see if the door on the right, room 111, would open. Another officer tried room 112. Both doors were locked.”

“Both doors were locked.” Either the Express-News’s source is wrong or Arredondo deceived the Tribune. “Highly embarrassing information” indeed.

Exit question: How did it take this long for this scoop to emerge? We’re nearly a month on from the shooting. Did the cops not realize until very recently, upon reviewing the surveillance footage, that the classroom door might not have been locked? Or have they been aggressively covering up this info for weeks?