The law enforcement official who made the decision not to breach the classroom at Uvalde Elementary School where a gunman was shooting children and teachers was the school district’s police chief, officials said Friday.
Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, did not mention the official’s name at a news conference on Friday, but said he made the ‘bad decision’ not to hire the shooter earlier.
The Uvalde School District Police Chief is Pedro “Pete” Arredondo.
“A decision was made that this was a barricaded subject situation,” McCraw said of the incident commander’s “thought process” at the time.
At the same time, children inside classrooms 111 and 112 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde repeatedly called 911 and asked for help, he said. They were in the midst of the deadliest school shooting since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.
“Looking back, where I’m sitting now, of course, it wasn’t the right decision,” McCraw said of the supervisor’s plea not to face the shooter. “It was the wrong decision. Period. There is no excuse for it.
Pressed by reporters on whether Arredondo was at the scene during the shooting, McCraw declined to comment.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Friday he demanded a full account of what happened in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, but said he did not have his say on whether the school district’s police chief should be fired.
“In terms of his employment status, it’s something that’s out of my control and that I have no knowledge of,” Abbott said. “Every act of all these officials will be known, identified and explained to the public.”
Arredondo has not spoken publicly about the shooting since two very brief press releases on the day of the tragedy.
CNN attempted to reach Arredondo at his home on Friday, but there was no response.
Arredondo is identified on the Uvalde School District website as the police chief and was introduced as the police chief during news conferences Tuesday in the hours following the shooting at Robb Elementary.
At press conferences, Arredondo said the gunman had died, but provided little other information about the massacre, citing an “active investigation” and not answering any questions from those gathered.
Arredondo has nearly three decades of law enforcement experience, according to the school district, and was recently elected to a seat on the Uvalde City Council.
A school district board endorsed Arredondo to lead the department in 2020. District Superintendent Hal Harrell said in a Facebook post at the time that the board was “confident with our selection and impressed with his experience, his knowledge and his community. participation.”
Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News after his appointment that he was happy to return to work in his hometown and wanted to focus on education and training in policing. “We can never have enough training,” he told the newspaper.
In March, Arredondo posted on Facebook that his department was conducting “active shooter training” at Uvalde High School in an effort to prepare local law enforcement to respond to “any situation that may arise.” A flyer for the event he released said topics would include priorities for school law enforcement and how to “stop the killing”.
Arredondo previously served as a captain in a school district police department in Laredo, Texas, and held several positions with the Uvalde Police Department.