Summary: Shooting in Uvalde, Texas, timeline of the massacre and testimonies 28:22
(WABNEWS) — The law enforcement official who made the decision not to break into the Uvalde Elementary School classroom where a gunman was shooting at children and teachers was the school district’s chief of police, authorities said Friday.
Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, did not mention the official’s name at a news conference Friday, but said he made the “wrong decision” not to confront the shooter sooner.RELATED
The Uvalde School District Police Chief is Pedro “Pete” Arredondo.
“The 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 in rooms 111 and 112 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde repeatedly called 911 for help, he said. They were in the midst of the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
“From the privilege of hindsight, where I am now, of course it was not the right decision,” McCraw said of the supervisor’s call not to confront the shooter. “It was a wrong decision. Period. There is no excuse for it.”
McGraw declined to comment on whether Arredondo was present at the scene during the shooting, at the insistence of reporters.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Friday that he is demanding a full account of what happened during the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, but said he had no say in whether the school district police chief should be fired.
“As far as his employment status goes, that is something that is out of my control and that I am not aware of,” Abbott said. “Every act of all those officials will be known and identified and explained to the public.”
Arredondo has not spoken publicly about the shooting since two very brief statements to the press on the day of the tragedy.
WABNEWS tried to contact Arredondo at his home on Friday, but there was no response.
Arredondo identifies himself on the Uvalde School District website as the chief of police and was introduced as such at news conferences held Tuesday in the hours after the shooting at Robb Elementary School.
At news conferences, Arredondo stated that the shooter was dead, but provided little other information about the massacre, citing an “active investigation” and not taking questions from those present.
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 of trustees approved Arredondo to lead the department in 2020. District Superintendent Hal Harrell said in a Facebook post at the time that the board “is confident in our selection and impressed by their experience, knowledge and community involvement.
Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News after his appointment that he was happy to return to work in his hometown and wanted to emphasize education and training in the police department. “We can never have enough training,” he told the newspaper.
In March, Arredondo posted on Facebook that his department was hosting an “Armed Aggressor 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 that he posted said topics covered would include priorities for school law enforcement and how to “Stop the Killing.”
Arredondo previously served as a captain with a school district police department in Laredo, Texas, and in multiple roles with the Uvalde Police Department.
— WABNEWS’s Andy Rose contributed to this report.