ADVERTISEMENT

The focus shifts to the Uvalde school police chief's choice not to deploy cops inside.




The school district police chief took the choice not to enter the Uvalde elementary school classroom where a shooter was killing children and staff, officials said Friday.

At a press conference Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steven McCraw did not specify the official's name, but said he made the "poor judgment" in not engaging the gunman sooner.

Pedro "Pete" Arredondo is the police chief for the Uvalde School District.

Pedro "Pete" Arredondo, head of police of Uvalde, talks during a press conference on May 24.

"A determination was made at the time that this was a barricaded subject scenario," McCraw said of the incident commander's "thinking process."

At the same moment, youngsters in Uvalde's Robb Elementary School classes 111 and 112 contacted 911 and begged for help, he added. They were in the midst of the bloodiest school shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in 2012.

"From where I am now, with the benefit of hindsight, of course that was not the proper option," McCraw said of the supervisor's decision not to approach the gunman. "It was the incorrect choice. Period. That is not an excuse."

When reporters asked if Arredondo was there at the time of the incident, McCraw declined to answer.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that he wants a comprehensive explanation of what transpired at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, but that he has no say in whether the school district's police chief should be removed.

"As far as his work status is concerned, it is outside my control and I have no knowledge of," Abbott added. "Every action taken by all of those authorities will be known, identifiable, and explained to the public."

Arredondo hasn't talked publicly about the incident since two brief press comments on the day of the tragedy.

Arredondo is named as the police chief on the Uvalde school district website and was introduced as the police head at press conferences on Tuesday in the hours following the Robb Elementary massacre.

Arredondo confirmed the gunman was dead during the news conferences, but offered little further information about the atrocity, claiming a "active investigation" and refusing to take questions from those present.

According to the school system, Arredondo has over three decades of law enforcement experience and was just elected to Uvalde's municipal council.

Arredondo was appointed by the school district's board of trustees to lead the department in 2020. In a Facebook post at the time, the district's superintendent, Hal Harrell, stated that the board was "assured with our choices and impressed with his experience, education, and community participation."


After his appointment, Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News that he was excited to return to his hometown and that he intended to prioritize education and training at the police department. "There is never enough training," he told the newspaper.

Arredondo announced on Facebook in March that his department will be organizing a "Active Shooter Training" at Uvalde High School in order to educate local law enforcement for "any circumstance that may develop." 

According to the brochure for the event, topics discussed will include priorities for school-based law enforcement and ways to "Stop the Killing."

Arredondo formerly worked as a captain at a school district police department in Laredo, Texas, as well as in various capacities with the Uvalde Police Department.
Tags

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT