Uvalde schools police chief says he did not consider himself incident commander -Breaking
(Reuters) – Uvalde Schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo stated that he didn’t consider himself to be the incident commander at the Texas school shooting that left 19 dead children and 2 teachers. He also said that he didn’t order the police to stop entering the building.
Public scrutiny has focused on the response of the police to the shooting at Robb Elementary School, May 24, and the impact Arredondo had. The Texas Tribune published his interview late Thursday night.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 19 Texas officers waited for over an hour outside of classrooms 111 and 112. Then, a U.S. Border Patrol-led tactical unit finally entered.
According to the Texas Tribune, Arredondo stated that he had not issued any orders. Arredondo added, “I called for help and requested an extraction tool to unlock the door.” Texas Tribune reports that the doors of the classrooms were locked.
DPS officials stated that Arredondo opted to not send officers into the building to eliminate the gunman because he felt the threat to students had diminished after an initial burst of gunfire.
According to the Texas Tribune, DPS officers have described Arredondo in their report as incident commander. Arredondo explained to the newspaper that he believed that another official or officer had overthrown the large response. He assumed the position of front-line responder.
Arredondo said that he had left two radios at school to use his guns. To avoid gunfire, Arredondo said that he called for tactical equipment, a spy and keys to enter. He remained at the doors for forty minutes. He said that he had tried many of the keys, but none worked.
Arredondo said to the newspaper that each time I attempted a key, I was praying.
According to Texas Tribune, he responded via phone interview as well as in written statements that were provided by his lawyer.
Texas Department of Public Safety has not responded to our requests for comment.
Arredondo claimed that he tried to speak to the gunman over the wall at times, in order to build a relationship, but the gunman refused to respond to his attempts, as reported by the newspaper.
According to the newspaper, Arredondo stated that he noticed that the gunman kept firing intermittently and that teachers and children in nearby rooms were still in danger. Arredondo stated that he ordered officers to open windows in other classrooms outside and evacuate those teachers.
U.S. Justice Department is going to review law enforcement response to shooting, U.S. Attorney general Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday. The Texas State and County Authorities say that they have initiated their own investigation.