School District Police Chief Defends Decisions in Uvalde

School District Police Chief Defends Decisions in Uvalde

Police Chief Reacts After Mass Shooting Screwup

( – There’s no denying police botched the police response to the May 24 Uvalde school shooting. More than a dozen students and two teachers were alive in the Robb Elementary School classrooms while 60 officers waited 77 minutes to neutralize the shooter. After weeks of silence, the man in charge of the scene is defending his decisions.

On June 9, The Texas Tribune published the first extended interview with School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo since the shooting. The chief defended his response that day, saying he was waiting for a key to unlock the steel door. He claimed the only thing important to him was trying to “save as many teachers and children as possible.” Still, he and his officers waited for more than an hour.

Arredondo said he left his radios behind on purpose that day because he wanted to have both hands free to fire his weapon. Law enforcement experts told the paper that decision likely contributed to the day’s chaos. Shockingly, the chief said he didn’t consider himself the commander that day. He claimed he never issued any orders and never told officers they shouldn’t enter the building. The Texas Department of Public Safety claims Arredondo was the commander and did issue the orders.

While police waited outside, children inside the classrooms called 911 and begged for help. Parents demanded law enforcement save their babies. Eva Mireles, the wife of one of Arredondo’s officers, was on the phone with her husband after the gunman shot her; she later died along with another teacher and 19 students. One of the teachers died in the ambulance more than an hour after the shooting began.

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