Uvalde school police chief defends late response to mass shooting

The Uvalde, Texas Public Schools Police Chief is standing up for officers who are coming under fire for their response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary last month.

Pete Arredondo, in an interview published Thursday in The Texas Tribune, offered his most descriptive comments on the police response since the shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead.

The interview comes as new documents detailed in The New York Times show that police feared entering an elementary school classroom.

A Robb Elementary teacher injured in the massacre, in an interview with “Good Morning America” ​​earlier this week, said the police were “cowardly” for their actions and their lack of a quick response was unforgivable.

Arredondo, in his interview with The Texas Tribune, said officers put their lives on the line in elementary school.

“Not a single officer ever hesitated even for a moment to put himself in harm’s way to save the children,” Arredondo said.

“We responded to the information we had and had to adapt to whatever we were facing. Our goal was to save as many lives as possible, and the extraction of students from classrooms by everyone involved saved over 500 of our students and teachers from Uvalde before we had access to the shooter and eliminated the threatens.

Arredondo’s comments follow new documents that show more than a dozen students were still alive between the start of the shooting and when four officers entered classrooms, the New York Times.

Investigators found the time between when the shooter started shooting and when officers confronted and shot him in the classroom was 77 minutes, according to the news site, while that Arredondo and other first responders knew survivors in the classrooms.

Arredondo added that he hadn’t discussed his account of the May 24 shooting “earlier because he didn’t want to add to the community’s grief or blame others,” according to The Texas Tribune.

The Tribune also reported that Arredondo did not carry a police radio because he thought it would “slow him down” and that they were “not working in certain school buildings” in the district.

Uvalde officers like Arredondo also do not carry school keys and must request them from staff members, according to the Tribune.

His lack of a radio and a key to enter the classroom was “most striking” and “appears to have contributed to a chaotic approach” in the officers’ response, law enforcement experts told the Tribune.

The law enforcement response reportedly claimed the lives of at least one child who bled to death in a classroom as first responders waited to enter, according to a state senator who spoke with the victim’s family.

The Justice Department announced last month that it was reviewing law enforcement’s response to the shooting.


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