Chloe Torres did everything she was ‘supposed’ to do in a school shooting scenario. Uvalde police failed her and the elementary school’s 21 victims.
On November 3, 2022, a little over five months since the Uvalde School Shooting that left 19 students and 2 teachers dead, audio of a 10-year-old talking to a 911 dispatcher begging for help while trapped in a classroom has been released.
CNN obtained the audio, and after talking to the parents of Chloe Torres, the now 11-year-old who made the call, has released snippets of the heartbreaking audio. She and injured, dying classmates and a teacher were trapped in room 112 as the gunman bounced between room 112 and the adjoining room 111, according to a timeline of the tragedy from Associated Press.
The audio is painful to listen to, as this should have been the call that could have saved lives. Chloe called roughly 30 minutes after the gunman left the classroom. Police waited an additional 40 minutes after the call to enter the rooms and take out the shooter.
Content Warning: This video contains audio of a 911 call during the Uvalde School Shooting. Discretion advised.
“There’s a school shooting,” Chloe explains to the dispatcher at 12:10 p.m. The dispatcher then explains that “multiple units” are at the school and asks if Chloe is with officers or if she’s “barricaded somewhere.”
“I’m in classroom — what’s the classroom number? 112,” Chloe says. “Please hurry. There’s a lot of dead bodies,” Chloe whispers. She confirms her room number and asks again, “Please send help.”
The dispatcher then asks Chloe to tell everyone in the room to be quiet. “I am. I am. I’m telling everybody to be quiet and now nobody is listening to me. I know how to handle these situations,” said the 10-year-old. “My dad taught me when I was a little girl. Send help. Some of my teachers are alive but they’re shot,” Chloe explains around 12:12 p.m.
Again, police officers were standing outside of the classrooms for 40 minutes after this phone call. The dispatcher contacted police officers on the scene at 12:12 p.m. relaying information from Chloe. “Child is advising he [the shooter] is in the room full of victims, full of victims at this moment.”
An officer then asks, “Can you confirm to see if that shooter is still standing? Or has he shot himself?” to the dispatcher. Active shooter protocol dictates that a call like this should send officers into action to neutralize the shooter. Police officers did not enter the room until 12:50 p.m. Instead, more officers arrived at the scene with tactical gear, with roughly 400 officers at the scene.
There were 400 police officers at the scene. It took 38 minutes to act on the information relayed by Chloe and the other 911 calls.
At 12:17 p.m., Chloe asks, “How far are y’all away?” The dispatcher says, “They’re inside the building, OK? You need to stay quiet, OK?” Chloe then relays the information to injured and terrified classmates still alive: “They’re inside the building. We just need to stay quiet.”
According to police, they thought that the gunman was barricaded and no longer an active shooter. This is the excuse they’ve been using to defend their fatal inaction.
However, Chloe’s call (all of which was not shared by CNN, due to its graphic nature) proves that the police were well aware that the shooter was still active. They knew their were children feet away on the other side of the door counting the seconds, hoping that a police officer would save them. Previously released body cam footage features one officer talking to another saying, “They think there’s kids in there. Supposedly one kid called in and he was in there with him.”
More footage shows that a group of DPS officers knew there were about “eight or nine” kids in there with the shooter who desperately needed immediate medical attention.
And yet, they waited. Quietly. Even when one officer told another that there was still an active shooter and that one of the “school PD officers, his wife is a teacher. She called him and said she’s dying,” police stood outside the doors of rooms 111 and 112.
The United States has the most mass shootings in the world. Over 580 people have died in a mass shooting in the U.S. in 2022 alone. Police departments often cite budget cuts that didn’t happen for eliminating their ability to move quickly in emergency situations. But with 400 officers from various departments on the scene, that doesn’t seem to be what caused the issue here. Why did they ignore Chloe? And why wasn’t active shooter protocol followed?