Crime Police Knew Texas Shooter Was in Room with Kids, Undermining Claim They Thought He Was Barricaded: Witnesses Newly-released video and witness interviews claim that first responders knew that there were children in the classroom with the shooter By Steve Helling Published on June 1, 2022 04:51 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Uvalde Leader News Three days after a gunman entered Robb Middle School in Uvalde, Texas, and opened fire, killing 19 students and 2 teachers, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety told reporters that the incident commander on the scene made the "wrong decision" to wait before breaching the classroom doors. Col. Steven McCraw told reporters that the commander believed that the gunman had barricaded himself into an empty classroom, and that no children were at risk. "He believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject," he said, characterizing that assessment as "the wrong decision." But now, a week after the shooting, new video and witness accounts seem to dispute that narrative — pointing to the likelihood that cops knew that the gunman was in a room with an "unknown number of kids." Video obtained by ABC News, taken outside of the school appears to capture a 911 dispatcher telling officers that they were receiving calls from children who were still alive inside the classroom that the gunman had entered. Texas School Shooting: What We Know About the Victims "Child is advising he is in the room, full of victims," the dispatcher can be heard saying in the video. "Full of victims at this moment." A few minutes later, the dispatcher asked if any officers were inside the room — and said that there were "eight to nine children" still alive in the room. Uvalde Leader News Despite these calls, law enforcement waited for nearly an hour before entering the classroom and killing the suspect. Letter from the Editor on Uvalde Mass Shooting: A Reporter's Beat, a Magazine's Mission PEOPLE has spoken with multiple first responders — firefighters, paramedics and a police officer — who all say that they knew that the gunman was in the room with children, and that the shooting was ongoing while rescue operations continued. Even bystanders at the scene heard the dispatcher's reports to police officers. "We could all hear it, because the report was all over the police scanner," says Arturo Lazaro, 44, whose two nieces escaped unhurt from the school. "Everyone there knew that he was in the room with kids. We all knew it was urgent. That's why we were so frustrated when cops didn't go into the room." Uvalde Leader News An officer on the scene who is not authorized to speak to the media tells PEOPLE that while he was outside the classroom, he knew that there were children in the room with the shooter. "It was an unknown number of kids," he says. "We didn't know if it was 1 or 50. But we knew he wasn't in there alone. That's why some of us wanted to bust in." 'Fathers Smashed Windows and Pulled Kids Out': First Responders Recount Horror of Uvalde Shooting "The gunshots went on for about 40 minutes" says Ernest "Chip" King, a Uvalde firefighter at the scene. "Fathers smashed windows, and physically pulled their kids out of classrooms. It was chaos." PEOPLE's request for comment from the Uvalde Police Department has not been returned. The school district in Uvalde has opened an official account with First State Bank of Uvalde to support Robb Elementary families affected by the tragedy. People can send checks through the mail (payable to the "Robb School Memorial Fund") or donate money through Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also donate by calling 830-356-2273.