The Uvalde school district police chief is refusing to cooperate with investigators after more of the department’s initial claims about the Uvalde shooting response unraveled.
Pete Arredondo is the chief of police at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. made the call Texas Department of Public Safety spokespeople told the Associated Press that the Texas Rangers held law enforcement officers hostage for more than an hour after the shooting started. Texas Tribune.
The DPS told the outlet on Tuesday that Arredondo “provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago.”
Travis Considine, spokesperson at DPS, said that the Uvalde Police Department has also cooperated with this probe.
Tuesday saw Arredondo sworn in as Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin’s member of the city council. saidAfter he was elected weeks ahead of the shooting, he was sworn in. The swearing in was initially delayed but it was finally held without a public ceremony, according to NBC News.
The swearing-in came just days after DPS Director Steven McCraw faulted Arredondo’s choice to hold officers back and wait for reinforcements rather than engage the shooter.
“With the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision, it was the wrong decision, there was no excuse for that,” McCraw said.
The largest police union in Texas, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, urged police officers to “cooperate fully” Arredondo was not named as a result of the investigation.
The union blamed state officials on Tuesday for “a great deal of false and misleading information in the aftermath of this tragedy,” some of which “came from the very highest levels of government and law enforcement.”
“Sources that Texans once saw as iron-clad and completely reliable have now been proven false,” the union said in a statement.
The original story of the shooting was largely forgotten after Salvador Ramos, 18 years old, shot 19 children and two teachers at Robb elementary School. Although Gov. Greg Abbott and DPS officials initially said a school district police officer and two Uvalde officers “engaged” the gunman before he entered the school, DPS later acknowledged that no officers engaged the gunman Before he entered the school, there was no school district officer present at all. In fact, the gunman rampaged outside of the school for 12 minutes before entering “unobstructed” through a side door.
Officials claimed that a teacher was responsible for the door being left open last week, but this claim was thrown out on Tuesday. The unidentified teacher’s lawyer told the San Antonio Express-News After reporting that Ramos had driven into the school’s boundary, the teacher closed the door.
“She saw the wreck,” attorney Don Flanary said. “She ran back inside to get her phone to report the accident. While she was on the phone to 911, she returned out. The men at the funeral home yelled, ‘He has a gun!’ She saw him jump the fence, and he had a gun, so she ran back inside.
“She kicked the rock away when she went back in. She recalled closing the door while telling 911 that she was shooting. She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked.”
Travis Considine, a spokesperson for DPS, later confirmed that the teacher had closed the door but that it did not lock.
“We did verify she closed the door,” Considine said. “The door did not lock. We know that much, and now investigators are looking into why it did not lock.”
DPS claims that two Uvalde officers attempted to confront the suspect after he opened fire at the school, but were shot and then backed off. DPS claims that 19 officers huddled in front of the classroom door for over an hour while Arredondo stopped both local and federal law enforcement officers from reaching him. McCraw said Arredondo made the call to treat the gunman as a “barricaded suspect” rather than an active shooter and believed children were no longer at risk, which he described as a mistake.
Audio taken from 911 calls shows children asking for help, while being trapped in their classrooms.
A girl called multiple times the police asking for help.
“Please send police now,” she pleaded With a 911 dispatcher, more that 40 minutes after her initial frantic call.
McCraw claimed last week that 911 information may not be relayed to ground officers, but that a new video taken by ABC News shows 911 dispatchers alerting police that the classroom was “full of victims.” It’s unclear if anyone on the scene heard the calls.
McCraw stated Arredondo believed that the children were safe, but Chris Olivarez, DPS spokesperson, said otherwise. CNN on Friday that officers were reluctant to engage the gunman because “they could’ve been shot.” Olivarez said that police were waiting for a tactical team from Border Patrol to arrive. But The New York Times Last week, it was reported by the Border Patrol team that Arredondo also held them back. NBC News According to reports, the team defied the orders and confronted him, eventually killing him.
Numerous police officers and law enforcement agents gathered at the school while they were being evacuated. While some of them helped evacuate the school, others worked in crowd control to prevent parents from entering the school. Some parents reported being handcuffed They claimed that others were Tasered and tackled, as well as pepper-sprayed.
Abbott, who made the initial claims at multiple press conferences. told reporters on Friday he was “livid” that he was “misled” about what happened.
“The information I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about that,” said Abbott, who had repeatedly praised law enforcement for their “amazing courage.”
“It could have been worse,” he said Wednesday. “The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do.”