Four of victims of the Uvalde school shooting were still alive when police finally engaged the shooter after a 77-minute delay, a Texas television station reported Friday.

KVUE Austin says experts are investigating whether those four victims, as well as others, could have survived had police not waited to take action.

"This is the question we are trying to get to. If things had been optimal, was there an opportunity?" said Dr. Mark Escott, chief medical officer for the City of Austin, who is creating a national panel of five experts to investigate.

Uvalde Officer
A state trooper walks past Robb Elementary School on Tuesday May 24, 2022 following the deadly school shooting William Luther/AP Pool/ San Antonio Express-News

Bodycam footage show officers responding to Robb Elementary School were reluctant to engage the active shooter because they feared they would be shot. One officer expressed concern about being "clapped out" by the shooter.

According to Uvalde County Justice of the Peace Lalo Diaz, two of the victims, both students, died at Uvalde Memorial Hospital. A third child was pronounced dead in an ambulance to a San Antonio hospital. And teacher Eva Mireles, who called her husband saying she had been shot, died in an ambulance that never left the Robb Elementary school campus.

Diaz said he questions whether any victims could have been saved by a faster response but fears the findings could traumatize the families of the 21 victims again.

Stephen Stephens, the director of Uvalde Emergency Medical Services, told KVUE that the first ambulance arrived at the elementary school within five minutes of the gunman entering the school. However, law enforcement told them and other medical personnel to "stage" outside the school. Stephens said they were prepared to treat victims immediately.

"I know we were ready," Stephens said.