Texas Authorities Are Still Waiting For Uvalde's School Police Chief To Answer Questions
Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo was incident commander and led the police response to the deadly shooting.
The Uvalde schools police chief has so far ignored requests for a follow-up interview made by state investigators reviewing the the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary, officials told BuzzFeed News.
Pete Arredondo, police chief for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, was the incident commander in charge during the May 24 shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead. On Friday, officials said he made the decision not to confront the shooter immediately because police believed everyone in the classroom was already dead — in spite of 911 calls coming from children begging for help — and transitioned the response to a "barricaded" situation instead of an "active shooter."
The Texas Department of Public Safety is conducting the investigation into the shooting, which is the deadliest at a school since Sandy Hook in 2012. On Tuesday, officials confirmed that Arredondo has not responded to requests for a follow-up interview.
"Uvalde PD and Uvalde CISD are still cooperating," a spokesperson for the department told BuzzFeed News. "However, the Chief of Police for CISD has yet to respond to the Rangers' request for a follow-up interview that was made a couple of days ago."
Arredondo did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.
Arredondo's lack of response to investigators' inquiries comes after the Texas Department of Public Safety admitted it was a mistake for police to wait more than an hour to breach the classroom where the shooter killed 21 people.
"With the benefit of hindsight ... of course it was not the right decision," said Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. "It was the wrong decision."
In addition to the leadership of the school district police department, Arredondo recently won election to the Uvalde City Council and had been set to be sworn in Tuesday. NBC News reported, citing the city's mayor, that the ceremony was postponed to keep the focus on the victims of the shooting.
Arredondo's lack of response to state investigators also comes as troubling questions have emerged about how police responded to the deadly shooting. The Department of Justice announced Sunday it would be conducting an independent review of the law enforcement response.
Video from the day of the shooting shows officers cordoning off the area while parents pleaded with them to confront the shooter inside. The confrontations at times turned violent, with officers shoving parents and holding Tasers during the tense moments.
Law enforcement officials have also found themselves walking back important details of their response to the deadly incident. For example, police initially said a school resource officer had confronted the shooter before he walked into a building of the school. Officials later said that was not the case.
On Tuesday, DPS also walked back their comments that a teacher had propped open a door that was used by the shooter to enter the school.
A spokesperson for the agency told NBC News the teacher had propped the door open, but after spotting the shooter, kicked aside the rock that was used to keep it open and closed the door.
The door, for some reason, did not lock, the spokesperson said.