State Watch

Texas state senator says Uvalde school police chief interview ‘directly in contrast’ with DPS

A man kneels in front of a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Salvatore Di Grazia, a teacher visiting from Rio Grande Valley, Texas, prays at a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas Monday, May 30, 2022, for the victims killed in last week’s school shooting.

Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) said that an interview that Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo did with The Texas Tribune is “directly in contrast” with what the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has said about the massacre at Robb Elementary School.

The Tribune published a story earlier this week that included comments Arredondo provided during a phone interview and from statements that his attorney George Hyde provided to the news outlet. 

The police chief, who is under scrutiny for the department’s response to the shooting, told the news outlet that he “didn’t issue any orders” and “called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door” to the room in which the the 18-year-old suspected gunman had locked himself.

He claimed that instructions to other law enforcement officials not to enter the school building had never been given by him. He also asserted that he did not believe he was the incident commander during the situation. 

The police chief also acknowledged during the interview that he did not have a radio on him at the time, telling the Tribune he knew that radios did not always work in school buildings and that he was worried he would be slowed down by one.

“Well, it’s directly in contrast with what DPS has said. So now you have these two competing narratives, none of which makes sense. DPS has suggested directly they leaked out that this man didn’t have a radio,” Gutierrez said in an interview with CNN on Saturday, referring to Arredondo.

“[Arredondo] acknowledges he doesn’t have a radio. So then how is he then the incident commander if he can’t communicate commands to other people?” he asked. 

Steve McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in late May that the commander on the scene did not direct the police inside the building to engage the gunman because he believed that it was no longer an active shooter situation.

However, the suspected gunman had locked himself into adjoining classrooms where children were alive and trapped.

Nineteen children and two adults died in the tragedy.

The public is seeking answers about a delayed response to neutralize the shooter amid conflicting reports from Texas officials directly after the event.

More than an hour lapsed between the time the gunman entered the building and when he was confronted by authorities. 

Tags Department of Public Safety Pete Arredondo Uvalde school shooting

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