Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly did not have his radio on him when he arrived on the scene at the Robb Elementary School shooting, where 21 people were killed, including 19 children.
That may have caused delay in Arredondo communicating with police dispatchers, according to the New York Times, citing a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.
He instead used a cellphone and called a landline for the district police telling the dispatchers the gunman had an AR-15. He then, incorrectly at the time, said that Salvador Ramos was contained.
The president of the association for the state’s school district police department chiefs also noted that it was odd that Arredondo, nor any of his men, had a key to get into classrooms and instead had to use one from a janitor.
‘All my people carry keys,’ said Chief Solomon Cook
It continues the theme of the story regarding the Uvalde School District Police’s attempts to stop the shooter shifting, including a teacher initially blamed wrongly to have left a door open that allowed Ramos to get in. It has since been confirmed by the Texas Department of Public Safety that he entered via an unlocked door.
It was revealed last week that the Uvalde Schools Police Department ignored several protocols from their own active shooter training drills, which they had practiced just two months ago.
Arredondo has spoken to the Texas Rangers, who are handling interviews on behalf of the state’s department of public safety investigation into the massacre.
The Rangers, the U.S. Department of Justice and the local district attorney’s office are all investigating
During a bombshell presser in the wake of the shooting, Texas Department of Public Safety head Steven McCraw slammed Chief Pete Arredondo for failing to engage 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, mistakenly believing the teen had finished his killing spree and was hiding out from cops.
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly did not have his radio on him when he arrived on seen at the Robb Elementary School shooting, where 21 people were killed, including 19 children.
He instead used a cellphone, the Times reported, and called a landline for the district police telling the dispatchers the gunman had an AR-15. He then, incorrectly at the time, said that Salvador Ramos (pictured) was contained
‘With the benefit of hindsight, from where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period,’ McCraw said.
The assertion from the state safety official comes as the the school district’s police force continues to face scrutiny for their handling of the shooting.
McCraw revealed that 911 calls had been made by students while locked in the classroom with Ramos, as Arredondo and his men waited outside the room for more than an hour.
Eventually, Border Patrol agents who rushed to the scene after hearing the incident unfold on scanners, breached the locked classroom door, with one fatally shooting Ramos.
According to a law enforcement official who anonymously spoke to The New York Times, the agents had been puzzled as to why they were being told not to enter the school and engage the gunman.
Video footage from the scene shows angry parents pleading with officers parked outside the school to enter the building, as they wondered as to the fate of their children
McCraw asserted that Arredondo, identifying the district chief by title and not by name, made a miscalculation assuming the active shooter situation had become a barricade event.
Arredondo, 50, become the focus of backlash from parents wondering if their children could have been saved.
Arredondo, who was born in Uvalde and was elected to city council just days before the massacre, has had an unremarkable career as a cop.
He started his law enforcement career as a 911 dispatcher for Uvalde’s town police department in 1993, and over the course of the next 20 years, worked his way up to eventually assume the role of assistant police chief at the department in 2010.
Afterwards, he worked various roles at Webb County Sheriff’s Office in Laredo – a small Texas town a little more than 100 miles from Uvalde. He then moved to the city’s school district police force, United ISD, which is comprised of 88 sworn peace officers.
In March, during the early days of the pandemic, Arredondo got the chance to return home, when he was offered the position of school district police chief in his native Uvalde.
‘It’s nice to come back home,’ Arredondo, who has family in the small, rural town, told the Uvalde Leader News upon accepting the gig.
The department, which only presides over the town’s school seven-school district, is comprised of four officers, one police chief, and a detective.
Law enforcement are seen at the scene of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday
Arredondo, who was born in Uvalde and was elected to city council just days before the massacre, has had an unremarkable career as a cop, starting out as a 911 dispatcher in the town’s police force in 1993 before accepting the school police chief gig in March 2020
‘All four of us are on a group text,’ Arredondo said at the time, adding ‘they are very knowledgeable, and I encourage them to give ideas.’
He went on to assert: ‘Of course, my title is important, but having a good group is also important,’ Arredondo said, adding, somewhat prophetically, ‘If not, you can surely fail.’
During Friday’s presser, state director McCraw corrected information released by Arredondo’s department Thursday that the gunman entered the building unimpeded, contradicting prior assertions that one of their officers exchanged fire with Ramos before the gunman entered the building.
In fact, police now say that the officer had actually passed by Ramos while rushing to the scene, as the gunman crouched behind a vehicle outside of the building.
Arredondo was not at the press conference to answer questions and it remains unconfirmed if he was even inside the school at the time of the shooting.
A minute-by-minute break down of how cops waited outside class while kids called 911 after gunman walked through door that had been propped open by a teacher
11.28am: Gunman crashes truck, gets out of car with AR-15
He is seen by witnesses in a funeral home next to the school who tell 911 they see a man with a gun walking towards the school
11.31: Gunman is now in the parking lot of the school hiding in between vehicles, shooting at the building
11.32: School resource officer who arrives in a patrol car after hearing 911 call about truck crash drives past the shooter
11.33: Gunman enters the school and begins shooting into room 111/room 112. He shoots more than 100 rounds
11.35: Three police officers enter the same propped-open door as the suspect from the Uvalde PD. They were later followed by another four, making total of seven officers on scene
Three initial officers went directly to the door and got grazing wounds from him while the door was closed. They hang back
11.37: Another 16 rounds fired inside the classroom by the gunman
11.51: Police sergeant and USB agents arrive
12.03: Officers continue to arrive in the hallway. As many as 19 officers in that hallway at that time
At the same time, a girl from inside the classroom calls 911 and whispers that she is in room 112
The shooter’s abandoned AR-15 next to his pick-up truck. He bought the gun two days after his 18th birthday
12.10pm: The same girl calls back and advises ‘there are multiple dead’
12.13pm: The same girl calls again
12.16pm: The same girl calls 911 for the fourth time in 13 minutes asking for help
12.15pm: BORTAC (SWAT) members arrive with shields
12.16pm: The same unidentified girl calls 911 and says there are ‘8-9 students alive’ in classroom 112
12.19pm: A different child from classroom 111 calls. She hangs up when another student tells her to in order to be quiet
12.21pm: Gunman fires again
12.26pm: One of the girls who previously called 911 calls back again. She says the shooter has just ‘shot at the door’
12.43pm: The girl on that girl is still on the line. She says ‘please send the police now’
12.50pm: Police finally breach the door using keys from the janitor and kill gunman
12.51pm Officers start moving children out of the room